substitute

noun
sub·​sti·​tute | \ ˈsəb-stə-ˌtüt How to pronounce substitute (audio) , -ˌtyüt\

Definition of substitute

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person or thing that takes the place or function of another

substitute

verb
substituted; substituting

Definition of substitute (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to put or use in the place of another
b : to introduce (an atom or group) as a substituent also : to alter (something, such as a compound) by introduction of a substituent a substituted benzene ring
2 : to take the place of : replace

intransitive verb

: to serve as a substitute

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Other Words from substitute

Noun

substitute adjective

Examples of substitute in a Sentence

Noun

you'll be getting a substitute until your regular teacher is feeling better if you like, you can use nuts as a substitute for coconut in that recipe

Verb

One of our teachers is sick, so we need someone to substitute. They substituted real candles with electric ones.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The measure was approved 16-4 Wednesday despite concerns about hardships on school districts who would need to find long-term substitutes for teachers on extended maternity leave. Washington Post, "Senate approves 12 weeks paid family leave for state workers," 20 June 2018 Though many may agree that Celebrity Big Brother isn’t a satisfying substitute for the NCIS clan, everyone can calm down: The show will return with its season 16 episodes on February 5, which is just a mere two weeks away. Megan Stein, Country Living, "CBS Sparks Outrage Among 'NCIS' Fans After Temporarily Replacing the Show," 23 Jan. 2019 Rebecca Zellar thought about what might be the best substitute. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "PM&L finishes season with ‘The Secret Garden’," 12 June 2018 All schools remained open and staffed by administrators, substitutes and teachers not participating in the strike. Colleen Slevin, The Seattle Times, "Denver teachers, officials negotiate to try to end strike," 12 Feb. 2019 Landon is apparently her favorite substitute for her regular style guru, who couldn't make the event. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "'Blue Bloods' Just Leaked the First Photos of Eddie's Wedding Dress," 25 Jan. 2019 During the strike, administrators and substitutes gathered students in auditoriums to watch movies or had students playing reading and writing games on iPads. Tawnell D. Hobbs, WSJ, "Los Angeles Teachers, School District Announce Deal to End Weeklong Strike," 22 Jan. 2019 There weren’t many options as far as landings, but the ample levees in New Orleans proved a welcoming substitute for a tarmac. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "8 Emergency Landings That Rival the 'Miracle on the Hudson'," 15 Jan. 2019 Finally, a permanent end to factory farming is likely going to require superb meat substitute products. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "2018’s big wins — and big losses — for animals," 24 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Tripartite compacts would need to be reached to substitute for statewide jurisdictions over roads, water infrastructure, retirement funds and the higher education system, just for a start. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "Venture investor Tim Draper is back with a pointless plan to split California three ways," 22 June 2018 As the global economy now negotiates a wrenching transition — with itinerant jobs replacing full-time positions and robots substituting for human labor — Britain’s experience provokes doubts about the durability of the traditional welfare model. Peter S. Goodman, New York Times, "In Britain, Austerity Is Changing Everything," 28 May 2018 Elderflower blossoms are reportedly difficult to come by in the U.S., so those who wish to celebrate in America and eat like the royals can substitute the flower for a liqueur, such as St. Germaine. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Meghan Markle, Prince Harry's royal wedding cake serves up a slice of originality," 18 May 2018 Some of them are practical, like substituting cold air intakes for the fog lamps to increase the supercharger’s oxygen ration. Al Haas, Philly.com, "2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk: A supercharged pleasure to drive," 28 Apr. 2018 Houses and buildings in Dogtown are wrapped in scaffolding, and the whirring screech of power saws every morning can substitute for an alarm clock. Otis R. Taylor Jr., San Francisco Chronicle, "In Oakland, this is gentrification when it knocks on your door," 19 Apr. 2018 The overall arc hews fairly close to Vaughan and Alphona’s comics run, apart from substituting Jonah in for the Gibborim — a group of ancient giants that would have been pretty hard to make work on television. Samantha Nelson, The Verge, "Season 2 of Runaways forges a bold new path — eventually," 21 Dec. 2018 This new paper describes a similar analysis, substituting food for appliances. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Oh sorry, is eating meat bad for the planet? I didn’t know.," 20 Dec. 2018 Credenzas can be used in offices as well, substituting a desk or workspace while providing additional office storage. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "How to Choose the Perfect Credenza," 19 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'substitute.' 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 substitute

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for substitute

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French substitut, from Latin substitutus, past participle of substituere to put in place of, from sub- + statuere to set up, place — more at statute

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Last Updated

19 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for substitute

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

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More Definitions for substitute

substitute

noun

English Language Learners Definition of substitute

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person or thing that takes the place of someone or something else
sports : a player who takes the place of another player during a game

substitute

verb

English Language Learners Definition of substitute (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put or use (someone or something) in place of someone or something else
: to do the job of someone else or serve the function of something else
: to replace (one person or thing) with another

substitute

noun
sub·​sti·​tute | \ ˈsəb-stə-ˌtüt How to pronounce substitute (audio) , -ˌtyüt\

Kids Definition of substitute

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person or thing that takes the place of another

substitute

verb
substituted; substituting

Kids Definition of substitute (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to put in the place of another
2 : to take the place of another Honey can substitute for sugar in the recipe.

substitute

noun
sub·​sti·​tute | \ ˈsəb-stə-ˌt(y)üt How to pronounce substitute (audio) \

Medical Definition of substitute

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person or thing that takes the place or function of another father and mother substitutes

Other Words from substitute

substitute adjective

substitute

transitive verb
substituted; substituting

Medical Definition of substitute (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put or use in the place of another: as
a : to introduce (an atom or group) as a substituent
b : to alter (as a compound) by introduction of a substituent

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