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

Outside experts and Twitter itself have estimated that substantial numbers of users are fake, and sources told the Post that the purge could lead to a decline in Twitter’s monthly user number for the second quarter of this year. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Twitter’s Huge Purge of Fake Accounts Could Lead to Decline in User Numbers," 7 July 2018 Fire in the attic caused substantial damage to a home in the College Area, east of San Diego State University on Friday. Pauline Repard,, "Attic fire damages College Area home," 6 July 2018 The Federal Insurance Administration, later absorbed by FEMA, reported problems with substantial damage in 1980. Mark Collette, Houston Chronicle, "Flood insurance problem ignored for decades," 5 July 2018 That prospect caused some panic in the markets on Monday, as investors feared that Trump’s move against China could do substantial damage to the US economy. Zeeshan Aleem, Vox, "Trump is about to escalate his trade war with China," 26 June 2018 But here’s the rub, the immigrants crossing the border to seek asylum include a substantial number of Black people. Britni Danielle,, "Come Again? Fox News Commentator Claims Some Black People Say Immigrant Detention Camps Are Better Than Housing Projects," 22 June 2018 There was substantial damage to the top of the ATM, but the cash remained unharmed and secure. Thomas Leavy, CBS News, "Dynamite used in attempted robbery of an ATM in Philadelphia," 21 June 2018 At the same time, the researchers found that substantial numbers of low-income residents in Indiana reported trouble accessing care. Noam N. Levey,, "Medicaid strategy favored by Trump may make care less affordable, new studies indicate," 20 June 2018 Pruitt's use of the authority attracted widespread attention after The Atlantic reported in April that two aides close to Pruitt got substantial raises using the Safe Drinking Water Act provision, against the White House's wishes. Robin Bravender, Science | AAAS, "Obama official would have led EPA’s climate science debate—if all agencies took part," 13 June 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

5 Oct 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).


evasion of direct action or statement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

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!