substantive

adjective
sub·​stan·​tive | \ ˈsəb-stən-tiv; senses 3c & 4 also səb-ˈstan-tiv \

Definition of substantive

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having substance : involving matters of major or practical importance to all concerned substantive discussions among world leaders
2 : considerable in amount or numbers : substantial made substantive progress
3a : real rather than apparent : firm need substantive evidence to prove her guilt also : permanent, enduring
b : belonging to the substance of a thing : essential
c : expressing existence the substantive verb is the verb to be
4a : having the nature or function of a noun a substantive phrase
b : relating to or having the character of a noun or pronominal term in logic
5 : creating and defining rights and duties substantive law — compare procedural
6 : requiring or involving no mordant a substantive dyeing process
7 : being a totally independent entity

substantive

noun
sub·​stan·​tive | \ ˈsəb-stən-tiv \

Definition of substantive (Entry 2 of 2)

: noun broadly : a word or word group functioning syntactically as a noun

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Other Words from substantive

Adjective

substantively adverb
substantiveness noun

Noun

substantivize \ ˈsəb-​stən-​ti-​ˌvīz \ transitive verb

Did You Know?

Noun

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."

Examples of substantive in a Sentence

Adjective

"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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

However, the Council has never met to discuss any substantive issues, according to two members who were granted anonymity by Ars. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Civil unrest: How a blockchain-based journalism startup bumbled its launch," 23 Dec. 2018 If the Justices duck every case remotely implicating gender politics, substantive constitutional issues will go unresolved and individual rights may be impaired. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Behind the Supreme Court’s Dodge," 12 Dec. 2018 While a welcome reprieve, early indications show that the earthquake has done substantive damage on its own. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Monster Earthquake Rocks Anchorage, Alaska," 30 Nov. 2018 There is no agreed-upon substantive agenda for the meeting, as Trump himself confirmed on Thursday, and the session will take place only a couple weeks after the date was finalized. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: GOP candidates caught in a bind on Medicaid," 13 July 2018 HP’s flagship HP Spectre x360 13 convertible laptop has previously won PCWorld’s Editor’s Choice award on the strength of its frequent, substantive improvements. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "HP Spectre x360 13 (2018) hands on: 'Whiskey Lake' power sits alongside 22 hours of battery life," 23 Oct. 2018 Campbell said there was, in fact, a substantive difference between Karl's first and second proposals, beyond the prices. Nathaniel Herz, Anchorage Daily News, "Rocket launches and alleged government waste: The hidden backstory of that Glenn Highway crash," 20 June 2018 Retardation is plentiful by way of the cast-iron rotors—Dallara does not believe that carbon-ceramic discs would make a substantive difference—but the car would be far better suited by a firmer point of contact. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, "Dallara Stradale: A Racing Legend Hits the Road," 23 Mar. 2018 Others are more substantive, like the new Search Indexer. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Hints of Windows 10's 2019 future show up in early '19H1' builds," 6 Nov. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of substantive

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 7

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for substantive

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French sustentif — see substantive entry 2

Noun

Middle English substantif, from Anglo-French sustentif, from sustentif, adjective, having or expressing substance, from Late Latin substantivus, from Latin substantia

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Last Updated

4 Jan 2019

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

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More Definitions for substantive

substantive

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of substantive

: important, real, or meaningful

: supported by facts or logic

substantive

adjective
sub·​stan·​tive | \ ˈsəb-stən-tiv \

Legal Definition of substantive

1 : of or relating to a matter of substance as opposed to form or procedure a substantive issue the substantive instructions to the jury was dismissed on procedural and substantive grounds — compare procedural
2 : affecting rights, duties, or causes of actions a substantive statutory change a substantive rule of law
3 : existing in its own right specifically : of or relating to a substantive crime the object of a RICO conspiracy is to violate a substantive RICO provision United States v. Elliot, 571 F.2d 880 (1978)

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WORD OF THE DAY

to gather or build up little by little

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