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 insubstantiality (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 In her heyday, Babitz had often been written off as an insubstantial party girl — as famous for her decolletage (legendary) and her conquests (also legendary) as her work. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: The return of Eve Babitz," 8 Oct. 2019 He's scored three goals and assisted a further four in his first six Serie A games this season, playing a not insubstantial part in Inter's 100% record., "Surprise Inter Star Stefano Sensi Is on Course for Big Role With Italy," 4 Oct. 2019 Upon hearing this comparison, a red flag went off for me; the amount of VR-specific optimization needed to map Skyrim's traversal and combat to VR controllers was not insubstantial. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Sean Murray calls No Man’s Sky Beyond the game’s “2.0” version—we believe it," 9 Aug. 2019 That means that the real actors' fake domestic lives all feel insubstantial and barely sketched and, again, that's perhaps intentional. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "'BH90210': TV Review," 7 Aug. 2019 Levinson doesn't sugarcoat reality, however uneven or insubstantial storylines may seem to viewers or critics. Jason Parham, WIRED, "In Praise of Euphoria, the Perfect Anti-Binge TV Show," 6 Aug. 2019 Three varieties of whimpering white-boy singers join in too, with the heartthrob Shawn Mendes enticing Gen Y, the emo-ish rocker Ben Gibbard making millennials and Gen-Xers cry, and Randy Newman representing Chance’s not-insubstantial boomer base. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Chance the Rapper Wants You to Get Married," 30 July 2019 Artisanal beers are made to be enjoyed on their own, accompanied by nothing more than a bar-top snack or two to complement them — something salty and crunchy and insubstantial. Paul Hodgins,, "Adult Beverages: Beer makes inroads into wine’s world, with mixed results," 6 June 2019 Scholze was bemused by the long theorems with their short proofs, which struck him as valid but insubstantial. Quanta Magazine, "Titans of Mathematics Clash Over Epic Proof of ABC Conjecture," 20 Sep. 2018

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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Statistics for insubstantial

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for insubstantial

The first known use of insubstantial was in 1607

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on insubstantial

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for insubstantial

Spanish Central: Translation of insubstantial

Nglish: Translation of insubstantial for Spanish Speakers

Comments on insubstantial

What made you want to look up insubstantial? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

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