sub·​stan·​tial | \səb-ˈstan(t)-shəl \

Definition of substantial 

1a : consisting of or relating to substance

b : not imaginary or illusory : real, true

c : important, essential

2 : ample to satisfy and nourish : full a substantial meal

3a : possessed of means : well-to-do

b : considerable in quantity : significantly great earned a substantial wage

4 : firmly constructed : sturdy a substantial house

5 : being largely but not wholly that which is specified a substantial lie

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from substantial

substantial noun
substantiality \səb-​ˌstan(t)-​shē-​ˈa-​lə-​tē \ noun
substantially \səb-​ˈstan(t)-​sh(ə-​)lē \ adverb
substantialness \səb-​ˈstan(t)-​shəl-​nəs \ noun

Examples of substantial in a Sentence

A substantial number of people commute to work each day. Activities like that pose a substantial risk of injury. She purchased her tickets at a substantial discount. Only the buildings that were constructed of more substantial materials survived the earthquake. I was hoping that they would serve us something more substantial than wine and cheese.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Mark Wilson/Getty Images This feels like a week of substantial, even shattering, revelations about the Trump White House. Ezra Klein, Vox, "The crisis isn’t Trump. It’s his Republican enablers.," 6 Sep. 2018 Dietland While both the show’s name and a substantial part of the first season center on themes of diet culture and weight loss, the complexity of Plum’s character is not limited to that. Mariana Viera, Teen Vogue, "10 Body Positive Shows to Watch," 5 Sep. 2018 Berger said, confirming that a substantial part of the new season will take place in Vietnam. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Is Us Season 3 Will Spend A Lot Of Time With Jack In Vietnam," 8 Aug. 2018 In some cases, the growth compared to 2017 was substantial, especially in Sunbelt and southwestern cities with rising populations. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Housing inventory rises—but not enough to make homes more affordable," 12 July 2018 And remember that a substantial part of Germany was in the Soviet empire and consists of people who are used to dealing with the Russians. Fox News, "Steve Bannon on NATO: Trump is saying 'no more games'," 12 July 2018 Comcast has to file on Friday with the U.K. Panel on Takeovers and Mergers to begin tendering Sky shares, which could lead to the Philadelphia company’s owning a substantial part of Sky. Bob Fernandez,, "Comcast faces Friday U.K. filing deadline for $31B Sky bid, Murdoch may counter," 10 July 2018 In Florida, Republican Gov. Rick Scott put his substantial fortune in a blind trust. Luke Broadwater,, "As governor, Larry Hogan's real estate business continues to thrive — prompting questions," 13 July 2018 The move would reduce the total combined follower count on Twitter by about 6 percent — a substantial drop. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Get ready for the great Twitter deflation.," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'substantial.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of substantial

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about substantial

Share substantial

Statistics for substantial

Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for substantial

The first known use of substantial was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for substantial



English Language Learners Definition of substantial

: large in amount, size, or number

: strongly made

of food : enough to satisfy hunger


sub·​stan·​tial | \səb-ˈstan-shəl \

Kids Definition of substantial

1 : large in amount a substantial improvement

2 : important sense 1 a substantial difference

3 : firmly constructed Substantial walls surround the castle.

4 : abundant a substantial meal

5 : prosperous sense 1 a substantial farmer

6 : made up of or relating to substance : material


sub·​stan·​tial | \səb-ˈstan-chəl \

Legal Definition of substantial 

1a : of or relating to substance

b : not illusory : having merit failed to raise a substantial constitutional claim

c : having importance or significance : material a substantial step had not been taken toward commission of the crime— W. R. LaFave and A. W. Scott, Jr.

2 : considerable in quantity : significantly great identification of serious and substantial failure to performU.S. Code — compare de minimis

Other Words from substantial

substantiality \-​ˌstan-​chē-​ˈa-​lə-​tē \ noun
substantially adverb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on substantial

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


living or existing for a long time

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!