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 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 The Biden campaign released an online video ad Saturday mocking Mr. Buttigieg’s achievements as insubstantial next to his work as vice president, including passing the Affordable Care Act and negotiating the Iran nuclear deal. Ken Thomas, WSJ, "Democrats Turn Combative to Gain Edge in Tight New Hampshire Primary," 9 Feb. 2020 Those set us back a not-insubstantial $1506 before installation, and some of that cost surely lies with these being N0-spec winters, meaning they are developed specifically for a Porsche. K.c. Colwell, Car and Driver, "Configuring Our 2019 Porsche Cayenne Was a Heated Affair," 3 Feb. 2020 Homeowner Valerie Paric can attest that while 58 square feet sounds insubstantial, the kitchen in her 525-square-foot Cambridge condo is anything but — once designer Diane Burcz worked her magic, that is., "A Cambridge condo’s pint-sized kitchen gets a new design that maximizes space," 12 Oct. 2019 The change in location feels welcome, but the plot developments suggest that the show will remain rooted in melodrama, slick and sumptuous and insubstantial as ever. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Ryan Murphy’s Netflix Show Is Too Glib for Its Own Good," 27 Sep. 2019 Just a few years ago, such wines were panned as insubstantial. Bruce Schoenfeld, Saveur, "Australia: The Wine Destination of the Year," 2 Sep. 2015 Moreover, even if a court halts discovery during the early stage of a case, submitting a motion to dismiss the lawsuit can cost a company a hundred-thousand dollars — not a large sum, but not insubstantial, either, if the case is truly frivolous. Kenneth K. Lee, National Review, "A Counterintuitive and Compelling Case for Class-Action Lawsuits," 2 Dec. 2019

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

14 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Insubstantial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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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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