in·​sub·​stan·​tial | \ ˌin(t)-səb-ˈstan(t)-shəl How to pronounce insubstantial (audio) \

Definition of insubstantial

: not substantial: such as
a : lacking substance or material nature
b : lacking firmness or solidity : flimsy

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Other Words from insubstantial

insubstantiality \ ˌin(t)-​səb-​ˌstan(t)-​shē-​ˈa-​lə-​tē How to pronounce insubstantial (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for insubstantial



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Examples of insubstantial in a Sentence

Their contribution to the fund was insubstantial. as insubstantial as a ghost
Recent Examples on the Web But the wilder the charges, the more insubstantial the case appeared. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, "A Bogus Dispute Is Doing Real Damage," 19 Nov. 2020 Yet the justices in the Hague dismissed Nottebohm’s ties to Lichtenstein as insubstantial and invalid. Udi Greenberg, The New Republic, "How the World Gave Up on the Stateless," 10 Nov. 2020 That’s because the customer, not Phillips, floats the not insubstantial investment in buying the animal, and Red Table isn’t burdened with carrying those costs over the monthslong curing process. Rick Nelson, Star Tribune, "Red Table Meat in Minneapolis goes whole hog and cuts out the middle man," 6 Nov. 2020 Even these willfully insubstantial constructions are more concrete than Jacqueline Maggi’s diaphanous, unoccupied rectangular enclosure. Washington Post, "In the galleries: A wide array of media carry election-year messages," 30 Oct. 2020 The lack of flashiness disguises an insubstantial increase in size over the outgoing version, with the W223 gaining 1.3 inches in length and sitting on a wheelbase stretched by just 2.0 inches. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, "2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Advances the High-Tech Luxury Sedan," 28 Oct. 2020 Many of my memories from those years are foggy and insubstantial, clouded by grief, marijuana, and hormones. Katy Kelleher, Longreads, "The Ugly History of Beautiful Things: Lockets," 10 Aug. 2020 Some of them are as insubstantial as smoke, but others may be worth thinking about. oregonlive, "Horoscope for April 1, 2020: Scorpio, envision endless possibilities; Sagittarius, friends don’t have the facts," 1 Apr. 2020 But here, there is considerably more than a few isolated comments raising insubstantial concerns. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy: Senate GOP looks for armament for oil price war," 26 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'insubstantial.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of insubstantial

1607, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for insubstantial

probably from French insubstantiel, from Late Latin insubstantialis, from Latin in- + Late Latin substantialis substantial

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Time Traveler for insubstantial

Time Traveler

The first known use of insubstantial was in 1607

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Statistics for insubstantial

Last Updated

26 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Insubstantial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for insubstantial


How to pronounce insubstantial (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of insubstantial

: not large or important
: not strong or solid
: not real : not made of a real substance


in·​sub·​stan·​tial | \ ˌin-səb-ˈstan-chəl How to pronounce insubstantial (audio) \

Kids Definition of insubstantial

: not large or important Her contribution was insubstantial.

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