substantive was our Word of the Day on 05/14/2010. Hear the podcast!
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Origin and Etymology of substantive
Definition of substantive
- the substantive verb is the verb to be
- a substantive dyeing process
- a substantive phrase
- made substantive progress
- substantive law
- substantive discussions among world leaders
Examples of substantive in a Sentence
- "This was not a drive-by P.R. stunt, and I actually thought it might be," said Representative Zach Wamp, Republican of Tennessee. "It was a substantive, in-depth discussion with our conference, and he's very effective." —Jackie Calmes & Carl Hulse, New York Times, 27 Jan. 2009
- The first substantive issue that the Supreme Court considered in its Brown opinion was whether, as originally understood, the Fourteenth Amendment prohibited racial segregation in public schooling. The justices concluded that the historical record was inconclusive. —Randall Kennedy, New Republic, 5 & 12 July 2004
- The common critique of art's pleasures and entertainments—that they are trivial, devoid of substantive value, and degrading of art's genuine worth—rests on ignoring this diversity by making two false assumptions: first, that there is basically one kind of aesthetic pleasure in art's entertainment and, secondly, that this pleasure is always a shallow and trivial one, which distracts us from interest in art's real meaning and truth. —Richard Shusterman, Let's Entertain: Life's Guilty Pleasures, 2000
These changes are more symbolic than substantive.
No substantive changes were made to the document.
There is no substantive reason to change the law.
Recent Examples of substantive from the Web
Trump appears to be playing a more substantive role than during the GOP’s failed effort earlier this year to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Indeed, Rufus Gifford’s route to a packed theater that Tuesday night in some ways resembles Donald Trump’s path to the presidency, though the former ambassador differs from the current U.S. president in almost every substantive way.
The private discussions Tillerson had with Xi, State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi were likely more substantive.
The 1973 King-Riggs match was pop culture’s climax to a feminist movement consumed by more substantive concerns about women’s roles at both home and work.
The media was blamed for unfair coverage of her every move and obsessing over the email ordeal rather than substantive policy differences between the candidates.
Last night's first Democratic debate was undoubtedly more in-depth and substantive than the two GOP debates—half the number of candidates, minus Trump, equals way more issues covered.
The only substantive modification to the retailer’s existing children’s brand is the addition of a unisex line featuring items like dinosaur-print dresses and spaceship tops, which seek to cut through gender stereotypes.
Adding a government partner provided no substantive additional benefit.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'substantive.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Substantive was borrowed into Middle English from the Anglo-French adjective sustentif, meaning "having or expressing substance," and can be traced back to the Latin verb substare, which literally means "to stand under." Figuratively, the meaning of "substare" is best understood as "to stand firm" or "to hold out." Since the 14th century, we have used "substantive" to speak of that which is of enough "substance" to stand alone, or be independent. By the 19th century the word evolved related meanings, such as "enduring" and "essential." It also shares some senses with "substantial," such as "considerable in quantity."
Synonymsbiggish, good, goodly, handsome, healthy, largish, major, respectable, significant, sizable (or sizeable), substantial, considerable, tidy
Antonymsinconsequential, inconsiderable, insignificant, insubstantial, negligible, nominal
Related Wordsbig, bulky, hefty, hulking, outsize (also outsized), oversize (or oversized), voluminous; astronomical (also astronomic), bumper, colossal, elephantine, enormous, gigantic, great, herculean, huge, immense, jumbo, king-size (or king-sized), mammoth, massive, monstrous, monumental, prodigious, titanic, tremendous, whopping
Near Antonymsmeasly, minute, paltry, petty, picayune, picayunish, piddling, puny, trifling, trivial, unimportant; marginal, meager (or meagre), slight; little, small, tiny, undersized (also undersize); bitty, diminutive, miniature, pint-size (or pint-sized), pocket, pocket-size (also pocket-sized), pygmy, smallish
SUBSTANTIVE Defined for English Language Learners
legal Definition of substantive
- a substantive issue
- the substantive instructions to the jury
- was dismissed on procedural and substantive grounds
- a substantive statutory change
- a substantive rule of law
- the object of a RICO conspiracy is to violate a substantive RICO provision
- —United States v. Elliot, 571 F.2d 880 (1978)
Seen and Heard
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