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
Moore can lay on Wimsey’s fussy, foppish mannerisms awfully thick as well, like a dandy in an old drawing room comedy rather than a gentleman of true substance.
The advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA in 1994 to require that the substance be listed on nutrition labels - a move the agency put into place in 2006.
Our book certainly mentions sweating as a physiological response, and that sweat contains [salt] and some ‘other’ substances.
The two had been separated for some time while Sneed struggled with substance abuse problems and spent time in Colorado and Florida.
The speedway sprayed a sticky substance on the top section of the turns to help create a second row of racing in the turns.
Story after story poured out of every girl in the trust circle about struggles with body image, untimely death, family issues, substance abuse, assault -- and more.
Trump has tweeted repeatedly that there is no substance to the Russia probe but that the real investigation should be into who is leaking sensitive details to the media.
These foods — substances? — were unfamiliar to most readers.
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.
Origin and Etymology of substance
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
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
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