sub·​stan·​dard | \ˌsəb-ˈstan-dərd \

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

Who’s bringing it: Douglas Haning, a Texas business executive who’s facing federal charges for putting substandard ingredients in pet food. Jen Kirby, Vox, "A brief guide to the legal challenges against acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker," 21 Nov. 2018 His verbal learning and memory and auditory memory had jumped from substandard to superior. Linda Marsa, Discover Magazine, "A New Treatment for Alzheimer's? It Starts With Lifestyle," 16 Nov. 2018 Consumer Reports magazine, which is known for pulling its buy recommendation for substandard in-car electronics, now tracks the most and least distracting systems. Chester Dawson, WSJ, "In Major Auto Partnership, Google’s Android System to Power Dashboard Media Display," 18 Sep. 2018 In a post on Medium, Bay Area engineer Luke Millar detailed the substandard quality of his West Elm sofas. Angela Lashbrook, Vox, "West Elm won over millennials. But now it’s really pissing them off.," 12 Oct. 2018 The other options the FCC cites include substandard satellite broadband, which is plagued by high latency and usage limits, and AT&T DSL, which is listed twice by the FCC but is patchy in its availability. Karl Bode, The Verge, "How bad maps are ruining American broadband," 24 Sep. 2018 In the colonias of South Texas, where substandard housing is the norm, thousands of families were refused relief on this basis. Parker Abt, WSJ, "After a Hurricane, FEMA Makes the Disaster Drag On," 27 Aug. 2018 According to news reports, the private mall was a substandard product of a typical local city bureaucracy that behaves worse than in Soviet times, forcing companies to pay endless bribes – sometimes for evasion of safety rules. Trudy Rubin,, "What killer fire in Kemerovo tells us about Russia and Putin | Trudy Rubin," 28 Mar. 2018 Many of these cases are tied to peeling paint in substandard housing. Molly Rauch, Good Housekeeping, "When Your Water Poisons Your Children," 16 Feb. 2016

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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Last Updated

28 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for substandard

The first known use of substandard was in 1850

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More Definitions for substandard



English Language Learners Definition of substandard

: below what is considered standard, normal, or acceptable


sub·​stan·​dard | \ˌsəb-ˈstan-dərd \

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

What made you want to look up substandard? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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