in name only

Idioms & Phrases

in name only

Also, only in name. Nominally, not actually. For example, He's the chief executive in name only; his vice-president makes all the decisions, or Theirs was a marriage only in name; they lived on different continents. [Late 1300s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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