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substance definition

Overview

This page has 13 definitions of substance in English, French, and Middle English. Substance is a noun and verb. Examples of how to use substance in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

English substance definition

Alternative forms

Etymology

From Middle English substance, from Old French substance, from Latin substantia (substance, essence), from substāns, present active participle of substō (exist, literally stand under), from sub + stō (stand).

Pronunciation

  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈsʌbstəns/, [ˈsʌbstənts]
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌbstəns

Noun

substance (countable and uncountable, plural substances)

  1. Physical matter; material.
    • 1699, William Temple, 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.
    • 1834, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Francesca Carrara, volume 2, page 308:
      His wasted hands were stretched out, and worked with a quick and convulsive motion, as if catching some small substances which kept eluding their grasp;...
    • 2013 July 20, “Welcome to the plastisphere”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8845:
      Plastics are energy-rich substances, which is why many of them burn so readily. Any organism that could unlock and use that energy would do well in the Anthropocene. Terrestrial bacteria and fungi which can manage this trick are already familiar to experts in the field.
    Synonyms: matter, stuff
    1. A form of matter that has constant chemical composition and characteristic properties.
      Coordinate terms: compound, element, mixture, composite
  2. The essential part of anything; the most vital part.
    Synonyms: crux, gist
  3. Substantiality; solidity; firmness.
    Some textile fabrics have little substance.
  4. Material possessions; estate; property; resources.
    a man of substance
  5. Drugs (illegal narcotics)
    substance abuse
    Synonyms: dope, gear
  6. (theology) Hypostasis.

Synonyms

Related terms

Translations

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Verb

substance (third-person singular simple present substances, present participle substancing, simple past and past participle substanced)

  1. (rare, transitive) To give substance to; to make real or substantial.
    • 1873, Adeline Dutton Train Whitney, The Other Girls, page 335:
      If life were nothing but what gets phrased and substanced, the world might as well be rolled up and laid away again in darkness.
    • 1982, Dhupaty V. K. Raghavacharyulu, The Song of the Red Rose and Other Poems, page 78:
      The calm ruminating / Reverie, substancing / Intellect into emotion, / Is shelter enough for love / Unhumiliated by faith.

See also


French substance definition

Etymology

Borrowed from Latin substantia (substance, essence), from substāns, present active participle of substō (exist, literally stand under), from sub + stō (stand).

Pronunciation

Noun

substance f (plural substances)

  1. substance

Derived terms

Further reading

Anagrams


Middle English substance definition

Etymology

From Old French substance.

Noun

substance

  1. essence
    • c. 15th century, Julian of Norwich, The Long Text; republished as chapter XLV, in A Book of Showings: The Long Text, edited from MS BN Fonds anglais 40, [], Toronto, Ont.: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1978:
      God demyth vs vpon oure kyndely substance, whych is evyr kepte one in hym, hole and safe without ende;
      God judges us according to our true essence, which he keeps inside himself, whole and safe, always.
      Translation: Mirabai Starr (2013), chapter 45, in Julian of Norwich: The Showings: A Contemporary Translation, Canterbury Press, published 2014, →ISBN, “Human Judgment”, page 111.

Descendants


Old French substance definition

Alternative forms

Etymology

Borrowed from Latin substantia.

Noun

substance f (oblique plural substances, nominative singular substance, nominative plural substances)

  1. most essential; substantial part
  2. existence

Related terms

Descendants