[ in-suh b-stan-shuh l ]
/ ˌɪn səbˈstæn ʃəl /


not substantial or real; lacking substance: an insubstantial world of dreams.
not solid or firm; weak; flimsy.
not substantial in amount or size; inconsiderable: an insubstantial sum.

Origin of insubstantial

From the Late Latin word insubstantiālis, dating back to 1600–10. See in-3, substantial
Related formsin·sub·stan·ti·al·i·ty, nounin·sub·stan·tial·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for insubstantial

British Dictionary definitions for insubstantial


/ (ˌɪnsəbˈstænʃəl) /


not substantial; flimsy, tenuous, or slight
imaginary; unreal
Derived Formsinsubstantiality, nouninsubstantially, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for insubstantial



c.1600, from Medieval Latin insubstantialis, from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + substantialis (see substantial). Related: Insubstantially.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper