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  1. of ample or considerable amount, quantity, size, etc.: a substantial sum of money.
  2. of a corporeal or material nature; tangible; real.
  3. of solid character or quality; firm, stout, or strong: a substantial physique.
  4. basic or essential; fundamental: two stories in substantial agreement.
  5. wealthy or influential: one of the substantial men of the town.
  6. of real worth, value, or effect: substantial reasons.
  7. relating to the substance, matter, or material of a thing.
  8. of or relating to the essence of a thing: the substantial parts of the ruling.
  9. existing as or being a substance; having independent existence: a substantial being.
  10. Philosophy. relating to or of the nature of substance or reality rather than an accident or attribute.
  1. something substantial.

Origin of substantial

1300–50; Middle English substancial < Late Latin substantiālis, equivalent to Latin substanti(a) substance + -ālis -al1
Related formssub·stan·ti·al·i·ty, sub·stan·tial·ness, nounsub·stan·tial·ly, adverbnon·sub·stan·tial, adjectivenon·sub·stan·tial·ly, adverbnon·sub·stan·tial·ness, nounnon·sub·stan·ti·al·i·ty, nounpre·sub·stan·tial, adjectivesu·per·sub·stan·tial, adjectivesu·per·sub·stan·tial·ly, adverb

Synonyms for substantial

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Antonyms for substantial Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for substantial

Contemporary Examples of substantial

Historical Examples of substantial

  • He went back to his hotel, and feeling hungry, made a substantial meal.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • A tooth-mug of substantial earthenware dropped to the floor with a crash.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • It is necessary to have one member of the firm solid and substantial.

  • Still, there was a substantial appearance of comfort and wealth about it.

  • The only substantial food at table was a great dish of game.

    Vivian Grey

    Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli

British Dictionary definitions for substantial


  1. of a considerable size or valuesubstantial funds
  2. worthwhile; importanta substantial reform
  3. having wealth or importance
  4. (of food or a meal) sufficient and nourishing
  5. solid or strong in construction, quality, or charactera substantial door
  6. real; actual; truethe evidence is substantial
  7. of or relating to the basic or fundamental substance or aspects of a thing
  8. philosophy of or relating to substance rather than to attributes, accidents, or modifications
Derived Formssubstantiality (səbˌstænʃɪˈælɪtɪ) or substantialness, nounsubstantially, 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 substantial

mid-14c., "ample, sizeable," from Old French substantiel (13c.), from Latin substantialis "having substance or reality, material," from substantia (see substance). Meaning "existing, having real existence" is from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper