- that of which a thing consists; physical matter or material: form and substance.
- a species of matter of definite chemical composition: a chalky substance.
- controlled substance.
- the subject matter of thought, discourse, study, etc.
- the actual matter of a thing, as opposed to the appearance or shadow; reality.
- substantial or solid character or quality: claims lacking in substance.
- consistency; body: soup without much substance.
- the meaning or gist, as of speech or writing.
- something that has separate or independent existence.
- something that exists by itself and in which accidents or attributes inhere; that which receives modifications and is not itself a mode; something that is causally active; something that is more than an event.
- the essential part of a thing; essence.
- a thing considered as a continuing whole.
- possessions, means, or wealth: to squander one's substance.
- Linguistics. the articulatory or acoustic reality or the perceptual manifestation of a word or other construction (distinguished from form).
- a standard of weights for paper.
- in substance,
- concerning the essentials; substantially.
- actually; really: That is in substance how it appeared to me.
Origin of substance
SynonymsSee more synonyms for substance on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for substance
Scalise spoke briefly, adding little of substance, saying that the people back home know him best.The Price of Steve Scalise’s Silence
January 7, 2015
Those with a slightly sleazier bent have dredged up reports of his weight gain, substance abuse, and arrest.D’Angelo’s ‘Black Messiah’ Was Worth Waiting 15 Years For
December 16, 2014
Things got even more serious when Cosby moved on to the subject of substance abuse and children.
Substance abuse was already an issue Cosby had grown particularly passionate about.
True, a solid majority backs the Democratic position on the substance.Staving Off a Democratic Civil War
December 2, 2014
Substance of one of Lovelace's letters, of her answer, and of his reply.Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
To all appearance, the rock was as firmly fastened as any other portion of the earth's substance.Tanglewood Tales
You have the wisdom that grasps the substance and lets the shadows flit.Fair Margaret
H. Rider Haggard
The substance of a lady's letter, it has been said, always is comprised in the postscript.Tales And Novels, Volume 3 (of 10)
Till when, I will give you the substance of what I wrote him yesterday.Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)
- the tangible matter of which a thing consists
- a specific type of matter, esp a homogeneous material with a definite composition
- the essence, meaning, etc, of a written or spoken thought
- solid or meaningful quality
- material densitya vacuum has no substance
- material possessions or wealtha man of substance
- the supposed immaterial substratum that can receive modifications and in which attributes and accidents inhere
- a thing considered as a continuing whole that survives the changeability of its properties
- Christian Science that which is eternal
- a euphemistic term for any illegal drug
- in substance with regard to the salient points
Word Origin and History for substance
c.1300, "essential nature," from Old French substance (12c.), from Latin substantia "being, essence, material," from substans, present participle of substare "stand firm, be under or present," from sub "up to, under" + stare "to stand," from PIE root *sta- "to stand" (see stet). A loan-translation of Greek hypostasis. Meaning "any kind of corporeal matter" is first attested mid-14c. Sense of "the matter of a study, discourse, etc." first recorded late 14c.
- That which has mass and occupies space; matter.
- A material of a particular kind or constitution.
Idioms and Phrases with substance
see in substance; sum and substance.