1. a substratum.
  2. Biochemistry. the substance acted upon by an enzyme.
  3. Electronics. a supporting material on which a circuit is formed or fabricated.

Origin of substrate

First recorded in 1570–80; variant of substratum Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for substrate


  1. biochem the substance upon which an enzyme acts
  2. another word for substratum
  3. electronics the semiconductor base on which other material is deposited, esp in the construction of integrated circuits
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 substrate

1810, from Modern Latin substratum (see substratum).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

substrate in Medicine


  1. The material or substance on which an enzyme acts.
  2. A surface on which an organism grows or is attached.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

substrate in Science


  1. The material or substance on which an enzyme acts. See more at enzyme.
  2. The surface on or in which plants, algae, or certain animals, such as barnacles or clams, live or grow. A substrate may serve as a source of food for an organism or simply provide support.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.