1 : having substance : involving matters of major or practical importance to all concerned
2 : considerable in amount or numbers : substantial
b : belonging to the substance of a thing : essential
c : expressing existence
4 a : having the nature or function of a noun
b : relating to or having the character of a noun or pronominal term in logic
5 : creating and defining rights and duties
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."
"How many more carefully researched reports will need to be released before we finally act in a substantive way to protect our only home, planet Earth?" — Edwin Andrews, The New York Times, 14 Dec. 2018
"These are the moments—funny, yet substantive and cuttingly insightful—that will remain in the collective memory long after Ralph Breaks the Internet leaves cinemas and many of its meme jokes lose their relevance." — Jim Vejvoda, IGN (ign.com), 20 Nov. 2018
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
Unscramble the letters to create an adjective that describes things that are "substantially real": ETILANGB.VIEW THE ANSWER
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