sub·​stan·​dard | \ ˌsəb-ˈstan-dərd How to pronounce substandard (audio) \

Definition of substandard

: deviating from or falling short of a standard or norm: such as
a : of a quality lower than that prescribed by law substandard housing
b : conforming to a pattern of linguistic usage existing within a speech community but not that of the prestige group in that community
c : constituting a greater than normal risk to an insurer

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Examples of substandard in a Sentence

a teacher who rejects substandard work without hesitation
Recent Examples on the Web Lawyers evicting poor people — who were often living in substandard housing — rarely faced opposing counsel as tenants had no money to spare for legal representation. Anne M. Hamilton,, "Extraordinary Life: Frank Dineen was a meticulous lawyer devoted his life to helping low-income clients," 1 Dec. 2019 Of course, the fact that health is the foremost topic surrounding Sale — with his substandard performance on the mound being the second-most prominent — underscores how far off the rails his 2019 season veered., "In 2017-18, Sale looked every bit the part of an ace among aces, going 29-12 with a 2.56 ERA while striking out a ridiculous 13.2 batters per nine innings and helping the Red Sox to back-to-back AL East titles and delivering the final out of the 2018 World Series.," 12 Nov. 2019 After a substandard offensive performance in the first two games, their cleanup hitter — a top candidate for the American League Most Valuable Player Award for his outstanding regular season — appears to have awaked from his slump. David Waldstein, New York Times, "Alex Bregman’s Hitting Returns for Astros, Along With His Swagger," 27 Oct. 2019 After two strong games, singling out an individual player for substandard performance is quite a stretch. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Cousins, Vikings have passing attack back in stride," 14 Oct. 2019 Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh is suing a property management company owned by the family of presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, alleging that the firm abused tenants by housing them in substandard living conditions. Rebecca Tan, Washington Post, "Maryland attorney general sues Kushner-owned company over housing conditions," 23 Oct. 2019 Detention centers have become a flashpoint amid reports of substandard conditions at facilities for migrants. Bloomberg,, "SunTrust to stop financing private prisons and immigrant-detention centers," 8 July 2019 The picture that emerges is of a system of staggering complexity, riddled with obstacles and cracks, that prioritizes babies over mothers, thwarts women at every turn, frustrates doctors and midwives, and incentivizes substandard care. Nina Martin, ProPublica, "The Extraordinary Danger of Being Pregnant and Uninsured in Texas," 8 Dec. 2019 Two weeks ago, Schnatter accused his former company of making substandard pizza. NBC News, "Wife of Papa John's founder John Schnatter asks for divorce," 6 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'substandard.' 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 substandard

1850, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for substandard

Time Traveler

The first known use of substandard was in 1850

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Statistics for substandard

Last Updated

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Substandard.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for substandard


How to pronounce substandard (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of substandard

: below what is considered standard, normal, or acceptable


sub·​stan·​dard | \ ˌsəb-ˈstan-dərd How to pronounce substandard (audio) \

Kids Definition of substandard

: lower in quality than expected



Legal Definition of substandard

: deviating from or falling short of a standard or norm: as
a : of a quality lower than that prescribed by law
b : constituting a greater than normal risk to an insurer

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More from Merriam-Webster on substandard

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for substandard

Spanish Central: Translation of substandard

Nglish: Translation of substandard for Spanish Speakers

Comments on substandard

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experienced by way of someone else

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