See more synonyms for substandard on
  1. below standard or less than adequate: substandard housing conditions.
  2. noting or pertaining to a dialect or variety of a language or a feature of usage that is often considered by others to mark its user as uneducated; nonstandard.
  3. Insurance.
    1. not measuring up to an insurer's regular standards in undertaking risks: a substandard risk.
    2. pertaining to insurance written to cover substandard risks.

Origin of substandard

First recorded in 1895–1900; sub- + standard Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of substandard

British Dictionary definitions for substandard


  1. below an established or required standard
  2. another word for nonstandard
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 substandard

also sub-standard, 1909, from sub- + standard (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper