Definition of substance
2a : ultimate reality that underlies all outward manifestations and changeb : practical importance : meaning, usefulness the … bill—which will be without substance in the sense that it will authorize nothing more than a set of ideas — Richard Reeves
3a : physical material from which something is made or which has discrete existenceb : matter of particular or definite chemical constitutionc : something (such as drugs or alcoholic beverages) deemed harmful and usually subject to legal restriction possession of a controlled substance substance abuse
4 : material possessions : property a family of substance
substancelessplay \-ləs\ adjective
: in respect to essentials : fundamentally
Examples of substance in a Sentence
The pancreas secretes a substance called insulin.
The floor was covered with a white, powdery substance that turned out to be flour.
heroin and other illegal substances
He had a history of substance abuse.
When has he ever said anything of substance?
The results of the study give substance to their theory.
the substance of my argument
Recent Examples of substance from the Web
Their drive’s payload was a gene that encodes red fluorescent protein, a substance normally found in a species of sea anemone.
The depression, the substance abuse that happens so often, the problems with future relationships.
Two men on a moped tossed a noxious substance into the face of a 32-year-old moped driver and then jumped on his vehicle and drove away.
An adaptation of the semi-autobiographical Patrick Melrose books by Edward St. Aubyn, Melrose will center around Cumberbatch's character, an aristocrat and playboy who struggles with substance abuse.
A massive steel freezer would be needed to create the substance, sucking up the steel that the armies had hoped to save.
Freres did not specify whom Christensen threatened or what the substance of the threat was.
Going along with that are the fears that, because aluminum plugs the sweat ducts, the body can’t rid itself of any potentially cancerous substances absorbed during antiperspirant use.
The Cowboys will already be without defensive end David Irving, who was suspended for the first four games of the 2017 season for violating the league’s performance enhancing substances policy.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'substance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
SUBSTANCE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of substance for English Language Learners
: a material of a particular kind
: a drug that is considered harmful and whose use is controlled by law or made illegal
: the quality of being meaningful, useful, or important
SUBSTANCE Defined for Kids
Medical Definition of substance
1: physical material from which something is made or which has discrete existence the substance of nerve tissue
2: matter of particular or definite chemical constitution
3: something (as alcohol, methamphetamine, or marijuana) deemed harmful and usually subject to legal restriction heroin is a controlled substance substance abuse
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up substance? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).