• (America) IPA: /ˈsʌbstəns/, [ˈsʌbstənts]


  1. Physical matter; material.
    • 1699, Sir William Temple, 1st Baronet, Heads designed for an essay on conversations ↗
      Study gives strength to the mind; conversation, grace: the first apt to give stiffness, the other suppleness: one gives substance and form to the statue, the other polishes it.
    Synonyms: matter, stuff
  2. The essential part of anything; the most vital part.
    • Heroic virtue did his actions guide, / And he the substance, not the appearance, chose.
    • This edition is the same in substance with the Latin.
    • It is insolent in words, in manner; but in substance it is not only insulting, but alarming.
    Synonyms: crux, gist
  3. Substantiality; solidity; firmness.
    Some textile fabrics have little substance.
  4. Material possessions; estate; property; resources.
    a man of substance
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Luke 15:13 ↗:
      And there wasted his substance with riotous living.
    • c. 1594, William Shakespeare, “The Comedie of Errors”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act I, scene i]:
      Thy substance, valued at the highest rate, / Cannot amount unto a hundred marks.
    • 1712, Jonathan Swift, The Conduct of the Allies, and of the late Ministry, in beginning and carrying on the present War
      We are destroying many thousand lives, and exhausting our substance, but not for our own interest.
  5. A form of matter that has constant chemical composition and characteristic properties.
  6. Drugs illegal narcotics
    substance abuse
    Synonyms: dope, gear
  7. (theology) Hypostasis.
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Verb

substance (substances, present participle substancing; past and past participle substanced)

  1. (rare, transitive) To give substance to; to make real or substantial.

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