sub·​stan·​tial | \ səb-ˈstan(t)-shəl How to pronounce substantial (audio) \

Definition of substantial

1a : consisting of or relating to substance
b : not imaginary or illusory : real, true
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

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Other Words from substantial

substantial noun
substantiality \ səb-​ˌstan(t)-​shē-​ˈa-​lə-​tē How to pronounce substantiality (audio) \ noun
substantially \ səb-​ˈstan(t)-​sh(ə-​)lē How to pronounce substantially (audio) \ adverb
substantialness \ səb-​ˈstan(t)-​shəl-​nəs How to pronounce substantialness (audio) \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web But the number of people and businesses that need assistance is substantial and growing., "Marriott CEO, Hillary Clinton Are on Tap to Speak: NEF Update," 17 Nov. 2020 Eight other counties also moved back a tier, indicating substantial or moderate risk in their area. Sarah Moon, CNN, "California sees fastest growth in new daily coronavirus cases," 13 Nov. 2020 Eight other counties also moved back a tier, indicating substantial or moderate risk in their area. Christina Maxouris, CNN, "California becomes the second US state to top 1 million Covid-19 cases, after Texas," 12 Nov. 2020 Biden's leads across Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, which pushed him over the threshold to win the White House, are far more substantial — and greater than Trump's leads in the same states in 2016. The Associated Press,, "What's ascertainment? Here's how the process works for transitioning presidential power," 10 Nov. 2020 First of all, the speech elicited immediate and substantial pushback from numerous Republican voices. Noah Millman, TheWeek, "Don't panic: Democracy is holding up," 4 Nov. 2020 Former vice president Joe Biden has held a steady and substantial lead in national polls, though the race looked tighter in states where both sides had dug in. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "‘So many states are up for grabs’ as Trump-Biden contest comes to a head," 4 Nov. 2020 There's also substantial and growing evidence that face masks have a critical role in containing the virus. Editorial Board Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Heed the call for a national mask mandate," 27 Oct. 2020 In 1979, Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act, which outlined substantial yet nondiplomatic relations with the island. Tyler Van Dyke, Washington Examiner, "China to sanction US defense firms for supplying weapons to Taiwan," 26 Oct. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of substantial

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for substantial

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

29 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Substantial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for substantial


How to pronounce substantial (audio)

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 How to pronounce substantial (audio) \

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 How to pronounce substantial (audio) \

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 How to pronounce substantiality (audio) \ noun
substantially adverb

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Comments on substantial

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