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 That makes some policies better at tackling gender inequality than others OVER THE past generation women have made substantial economic gains, even as progress on other measures of social equality has been uneven. The Economist, "Economists discover the power of social norms," 8 Feb. 2020 In the early 1980s, fire-flooding tests on an oil field called Marguerite Lake, in Canada’s vast oil sands, produced substantial amounts of hydrogen as a byproduct. Eric Hand, Science | AAAS, "Company to harvest green hydrogen from underground oil fires," 6 Feb. 2020 It’s hard to draw a straight line between her answering GitHub customer support emails in bed and any substantial harm, at least a straight line that wouldn’t take most of us out at the knees, too. Malcolm Harris, The New Republic, "The Uneasy Promise of Life in Silicon Valley," 3 Feb. 2020 That ad business has become increasingly complex, and Google has been maintaining its substantial share of overall online advertising because its vast trove of data and searches lets advertisers more precisely target users. Zachary Karabell, Wired, "Alphabet Flirts With $1 Trillion but Needs a Second Act," 3 Feb. 2020 Superstitious and credulous citizens—a substantial portion of any populace—posed a threat. William Anthony Hay, WSJ, "‘The Enlightenment That Failed’ Review: Downfall of the Radicals," 24 Jan. 2020 Most people need to keep a substantial portion of their portfolios in stocks even in retirement. Liz Weston, oregonlive, "Liz Weston: Couple could test drive retirement community before giving up current home," 18 Jan. 2020 In Japan, where it is also called Shibuya toast after the Tokyo district where the style began, a substantial portion of a loaf is hollowed out and filled with squares of toasted bread, ice cream, syrup and fruit. Kim Severson, New York Times, "What Will We Eat in 2020? Something Toasted, Something Blue," 30 Dec. 2019 The vaccine is also likely to make up a substantial portion of an emergency stockpile for outbreaks being put together by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, for use in outbreaks. Helen Branswell, Scientific American, "FDA Approves an Ebola Vaccine For the First Time," 20 Dec. 2019

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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Statistics for substantial

Last Updated

9 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Substantial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Feb. 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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