View synonyms for substitute


[ suhb-sti-toot, -tyoot ]


  1. a person or thing acting or serving in place of another.

    Synonyms: equivalent, replacement, alternative

  2. (formerly) a person who, for payment, served in an army or navy in the place of a conscript.
  3. Grammar. a word that functions as a replacement for any member of a class of words or constructions, as do in He doesn't know but I do.

verb (used with object)

, sub·sti·tut·ed, sub·sti·tut·ing.
  1. to put (a person or thing) in the place of another.
  2. to take the place of; replace.
  3. Chemistry. to replace (one or more elements or groups in a compound) by other elements or groups.

verb (used without object)

, sub·sti·tut·ed, sub·sti·tut·ing.
  1. to act as a substitute.


  1. of or relating to a substitute or substitutes.
  2. composed of substitutes.


/ ˈsʌbstɪˌtjuːt /


  1. often foll by for to serve or cause to serve in place of another person or thing
  2. chem to replace (an atom or group in a molecule) with (another atom or group)
  3. logic maths to replace (one expression) by (another) in the context of a third, as replacing x + y for x in 3 x = k gives 3 x + 3 y = k


    1. a person or thing that serves in place of another, such as a player in a game who takes the place of an injured colleague
    2. ( as modifier ) Often shortened tosub

      a substitute goalkeeper

  1. grammar another name for pro-form
  2. another name for supply teacher
  3. nautical another word for repeater
  4. (formerly) a person paid to replace another due for military service

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Substitute is sometimes wrongly used where replace is meant: he replaced (not substituted ) the worn tyre with a new one

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Derived Forms

  • ˌsubstiˌtutaˈbility, noun
  • ˌsubstiˈtutable, adjective

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Other Words From

  • substi·tuta·ble adjective
  • substi·tuta·bili·ty noun
  • substi·tuter noun
  • substi·tuting·ly adverb
  • substi·tution noun
  • substi·tution·al sub·sti·tu·tion·ar·y [suhb-sti-, too, -sh, uh, -ner-ee, -, tyoo, -], adjective
  • substi·tution·al·ly adverb
  • inter·substi·tuta·bili·ty noun
  • inter·substi·tuta·ble adjective
  • inter·substi·tution noun
  • non·substi·tuted adjective
  • nonsub·sti·tution noun
  • nonsub·sti·tution·al adjective
  • nonsub·sti·tution·al·ly adverb
  • nonsub·sti·tution·ary adjective
  • pre·substi·tute verb (used with object) presubstituted presubstituting
  • presub·sti·tution noun
  • prosub·sti·tution adjective
  • un·substi·tuted adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of substitute1

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Latin substitūtus “replaced,” past participle of substituere “to put in place of,” from sub- sub- + -stituere, combining form of statuere “to set up, erect” ( substituent )

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Word History and Origins

Origin of substitute1

C16: from Latin substituere, from sub- in place of + statuere to set up

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Example Sentences

In place of dark matter, they substitute a subtly modified force of gravity.

Educators across the spectrum have acknowledged that online teaching, no matter its quality, is a poor substitute for in-person teaching.

Gödel’s extra insight was that he could substitute a formula’s own Gödel number in the formula itself, leading to no end of trouble.

Many leaders have acknowledged that online education is a poor substitute for in-person learning.

“I think we’re substituting one form of inequity for another,” Wulfeck said.

The substitute nurse says to him in a stage whisper, “You know, the doctor says no vodka.”

But in the end there is no substitute for government when it comes to war fighting.

Innovation is a poor substitute for insight, at least where boyhood is concerned.

This clean source of caffeine is the next noble, and healthy, substitute for your daily cup of coffee.

Annunziato and Akerman are in agreement that CrowdMed is best deployed as a supplement, not a substitute.

The "torfuge" (Fig. 31) is said to be a very satisfactory substitute for the centrifuge, and is readily portable.

Loss, where she was concerned, involved a permanent and irremediable bereavement—no substitute was conceivable.

If the auctioneer could afterward do this he might change the name, substitute another, and so perpetrate a fraud.

If any one of the parts should be lost or broken, it would require some ability in that country to contrive a substitute.

When sedimentation only is desired, the torfuge (Fig. 31) is a cheap and convenient substitute.


Related Words

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More About Substitute

What does substitute mean?

A substitute is someone or something that takes the place of another person or thing. As a verb, to substitute means to make such a switch.

Substitute is used in a variety of contexts, but it is perhaps most commonly associated with substitute teachers and players in team sports who replace a player in the game. In both cases, the word is often shortened as sub.

Example: Mr. Jones was sick today so we had a substitute.

Where does substitute come from?

The first records of substitute come from the 1300s. It comes from the Latin word substitūtus, from the verb substituere, meaning “to put in place of.”

Substitute teachers replace the regular teacher when they are unable to teach, typically because they are sick. A substitute usually only serves in that role for a day or two, but there are also long-term substitutes who replace a teacher for longer periods of time, such as when they’re on maternity leave.

In sports, a substitute is a player who replaces a player who is currently playing. This can be done for a number of reasons. In soccer (football), substitutes are often used late in a game to replace players who are tired. In basketball, subs are used throughout the game to give players a break. Substitute players are often said to come from the bench, which is a way of referring to the place where players sit when they are not playing, as well as a way to refer to the substitute players collectively.

Substitute is used in many other contexts as both a noun and a verb. In grammar, substitute is used as a noun to refer to a word that serves as a particular kind of replacement. In chemistry, to substitute is to replace one or more elements or groups in a molecule. People often refer to artificial sweeteners as sugar substitutes.

Substitute is synonymous with replacement, and it can appear in phrases and expressions that discuss replacing things, as in There is no substitute for hard work.

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What are some other forms related to substitute?

  • substitution (noun)
  • sub (shortened form)

What are some synonyms for substitute?

What are some words that share a root or word element with substitute

What are some words that often get used in discussing substitute?

How is substitute used in real life?

Substitute is used in many different contexts. It’s most commonly used in reference to substitute teachers and substitutes on sports teams.



Try using substitute!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of substitute?

A. fill-in
B. stand-in
C. alternate
D. primary