sub·sti·tu·tion | \ˌsəb-stə-ˈtü-shən, -ˈtyü-\

Definition of substitution 

1a : the act, process, or result of substituting one thing for another

b : replacement of one mathematical entity by another of equal value

2 : one that is substituted for another

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Other Words from substitution

substitutional \ˌsəb-stə-ˈtü-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl, -ˈtyü- \ adjective
substitutionally adverb
substitutionary \ˌsəb-stə-ˈtü-shə-ˌner-ē, -ˈtyü- \ adjective

Examples of substitution in a Sentence

The coach made three substitutions in the second half of the game. I'd prefer rice with my steak instead of potatoes, but the menu says “no substitutions.” Substitution of applesauce for oil is one way of reducing the fat in recipes. The cookbook has a long list of substitutions for ingredients that may be hard to find.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Log in below for a few easy recipe substitutions and modifications that will make your traditional recipes a tad bit healthier and help Santa fit down the chimney this year. Indianapolis Star, "12 Healthy Recipe Substitutions for Santa," 5 July 2018 The Dolphins plan to utilize a hockey-style approach with its defensive linemen, sending players onto the field in full-unit substitutions that play an equal amount of snaps. Omar Kelly,, "Akeem Spence openly accepts Dolphins' leadership role," 12 June 2018 And highly accomplished, never mind an occasional substitution of salt for sugar, or a baked Alaska pitched into the trash. John Anderson, WSJ, "‘The Great British Baking Show’ Review: Back for Another Serving," 21 June 2018 Young, meanwhile, also required immediate assessment and treatment following two heavy knocks to both his ankle and his thigh which forced his substitution in extra time., "England Handed Harry Kane Boost But Others Remain Major Injury Doubts for Sweden Clash," 5 July 2018 Coach Roberto Martinez won praise for his substitutions, with both Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli scoring, the latter with practically the last kick of the match. Pan Pylas,, "Brazil and Belgium, two high-scoring attacks set for battle in the World Cup," 5 July 2018 In the 80th minute, the Pride — having played all their substitutions — were reduced to 10 players when Morgan left the field due to a calf injury, according to Sermanni. Mike Gramajo, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando Pride fall 3-0 to surging North Carolina Courage," 30 June 2018 In Game 1, Boston closed the first quarter on a 15-0 run to take a 12-point lead into the second, with most of the damage coming after Milwaukee made its first substitutions. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Four things the Bucks must change quickly to keep their playoff hopes alive," 18 Apr. 2018 O'Connor was forced to use all three of his substitutions by the 66th minute as starters George Davis IV and Pat McMahon experienced discomfort from nagging injuries. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "Cameron Lancaster's goal helps Louisville City FC spoil FC Cincinnati's home opener," 7 Apr. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for substitution

Middle English substitucion, from Middle French, from Late Latin substitution-, substitutio, from substituere

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Statistics for substitution

Last Updated

3 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for substitution

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

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More Definitions for substitution



English Language Learners Definition of substitution

: the act of substituting or replacing one person or thing with another

: someone or something that is or can be substituted for another


sub·sti·tu·tion | \ˌsəb-stə-ˈtü-shən, -ˈtyü-\

Kids Definition of substitution

: the act or process of putting in or taking the place of another


sub·sti·tu·tion | \ˌsəb-stə-ˈt(y)ü-shən \

Medical Definition of substitution 

1 : a chemical reaction in which one or more atoms or groups in a molecule are replaced by equivalent atoms or groups to form at least two products especially : the replacement of hydrogen in an organic compound by another element or group

2a : the turning from an obstructed desire to another desire whose gratification is socially acceptable

b : the turning from an obstructed form of behavior to a different and often more primitive expression of the same tendency a substitution neurosis

c : the reacting to each of a set of stimuli by a response prescribed in a key a substitution test for speed of learning new responses

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sub·sti·tu·tion | \ˌsəb-stə-ˈtü-shən, -ˈtyü- \

Legal Definition of substitution 

: the substituting of one person or thing for another: as

a in the civil law of Louisiana : a disposition not in trust by which a donee, heir, or legatee is charged to hold property transferred and return it to a third person — compare fidei commissum, vulgar substitution

Note: Substitutions are prohibited.

b : replacement of a party to an action with a successor or representative upon motion to the court when the party is unable to continue litigating (as because of death, incompetency, transfer of interest, or loss of the office for which the party was suing or being sued in an official capacity)

c : the replacement of a new agreement or obligation for an old one — see also novation

Other Words from substitution

substitutional \-shə-nəl \ adjective
substitutionary \-shə-ˌner-ē \ adjective

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Comments on substitution

What made you want to look up substitution? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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