substance

noun

sub·​stance ˈsəb-stən(t)s How to pronounce substance (audio)
1
a
: essential nature : essence
b
: a fundamental or characteristic part or quality
c
Christian Science : god sense 1b
2
a
: ultimate reality that underlies all outward manifestations and change
b
: practical importance : meaning, usefulness
the … bill—which will be without substance in the sense that it will authorize nothing more than a set of ideasRichard Reeves
3
a
: physical material from which something is made or which has discrete existence
b
: matter of particular or definite chemical constitution
c
: 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
substanceless adjective
Phrases
in substance
: 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 on the Web Marshall departed the group due to substance abuse issues in 2000, and Stapp also struggled with personal issues, including depression and problems with self-medicating, in the following years. Jason Lipshutz, Billboard, 18 July 2024 One billion people suffer from mental health conditions or substance use disorders worldwide and 75% of people living in low-and middle-income countries with mental health conditions do not receive any mental health treatment whatsoever. For Carroll County Times, Baltimore Sun, 16 July 2024 The basic premise was straightforward: finding a plastic or similar substance that could direct light on the retina in the same way as a cornea. Brian Murphy, Washington Post, 16 July 2024 Antioxidants are molecules that scavenge harmful substances called reactive oxygen species (ROS) that naturally pop up in the body. Anthea Levi, Health, 16 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for substance 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'substance.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin substantia, from substant-, substans, present participle of substare to stand under, from sub- + stare to stand — more at stand

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of substance was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near substance

Cite this Entry

“Substance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/substance. Accessed 25 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

substance

noun
sub·​stance ˈsəb-stən(t)s How to pronounce substance (audio)
1
a
: essential nature : essence
divine substance
b
: the fundamental or essential part, quality, or meaning
the substance of the speech
2
a
: physical material from which something is made
b
: material of particular or definite chemical constitution
an oily substance
c
: something (as drugs or alcoholic beverages) considered harmful and usually subject to legal restriction
substance abuse
3
: material possessions : property
a person of substance

Medical Definition

substance

noun
sub·​stance ˈsəb-stən(t)s How to pronounce substance (audio)
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

Legal Definition

substance

noun
sub·​stance
1
: substantive law
was a question of substance and not process
compare procedure
2
: something (as language) essential especially to establishing a valid right, claim, or charge
a title defective in form, not substance

More from Merriam-Webster on substance

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