What does substance mean?

Definitions for substance
ˈsʌb stənssub·stance

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word substance.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. substancenoun

    the real physical matter of which a person or thing consists

    "DNA is the substance of our genes"

  2. kernel, substance, core, center, centre, essence, gist, heart, heart and soul, inwardness, marrow, meat, nub, pith, sum, nitty-grittynoun

    the choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience

    "the gist of the prosecutor's argument"; "the heart and soul of the Republican Party"; "the nub of the story"

  3. meaning, substancenoun

    the idea that is intended

    "What is the meaning of this proverb?"

  4. substancenoun

    material of a particular kind or constitution

    "the immune response recognizes invading substances"

  5. means, substancenoun

    considerable capital (wealth or income)

    "he is a man of means"

  6. message, content, subject matter, substancenoun

    what a communication that is about something is about

  7. substancenoun

    a particular kind or species of matter with uniform properties

    "shigella is one of the most toxic substances known to man"


  1. substancenoun

    Physical matter; material.

  2. substancenoun

    The essential part of anything; the most vital part.

  3. substancenoun

    Considerable wealth or resources.

    A man of substance.

  4. substancenoun


    substance abuse

  5. Etymology: From substance, from substantia, from substans, present active participle of substo, from sub + sto.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. SUBSTANCEnoun

    Etymology: substance, Fr, substantia, Latin.

    Since then the soul works by herself alone,
    Springs not from sense, nor humours well agreeing,
    Her nature is peculiar, and her own;
    She is a substance, and a perfect being. Davies.

    The strength of gods,
    And this empyreal substance cannot fail. John Milton.

    What creatures there inhabit, of what mold,
    And substance. John Milton.

    Every being is considered as subsisting in and by itself, and then it is called a substance; or it subsists in and by another, and then it is called a mode or manner of being. Isaac Watts.

    It will serve our turn to comprehend the substance, without confining ourselves to scrupulous exactness in form. Digby.

    This edition is the same in substance with the Latin. Burn.

    They are the best epitomes, and let you see with one cast of the eye the substance of a hundred pages. Addison.

    Shadows to night
    Have struck more terror to the soul of Richard,
    Than can the substance of ten thousand soldiers
    Arm’d in proof and led by shallow Richard. William Shakespeare.

    He the future evil shall no less
    In apprehension than in substance feel. John Milton.

    Heroick virtue did his actions guide,
    And he the substance, not th’ appearance chose:
    To rescue one such friend he took more pride,
    Than to destroy whole thousands of such foes. Dryden.

    Between the parts of opake and coloured bodies are many spaces, either empty or replenished with mediums of other densities; as water between the tinging corpuscles wherewith any liquor is impregnated, air between the aqueous globules that constitute clouds or mists, and for the most part spaces void of both air and water; but yet perhaps not wholly void of all substance between the parts of hard bodies. Newton.

    The qualities of plants are more various than those of animal substances. John Arbuthnot, on Aliments.

    He hath eaten me out of house and home, and hath put all my substance into that fat belly of his, but I will have some of it out again. William Shakespeare, Henry IV.

    We are destroying many thousand lives, and exhausting our substance, but not for our own interest. Jonathan Swift.


  1. substance

    A substance refers to a form of matter that has a specific and distinct composition and properties. It can exist in various states such as solid, liquid, or gas, and can be either naturally occurring or artificially created. Substances can be classified into elements, compounds, or mixtures based on their composition and the way their atoms or molecules are arranged.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Substancenoun

    that which underlies all outward manifestations; substratum; the permanent subject or cause of phenomena, whether material or spiritual; that in which properties inhere; that which is real, in distinction from that which is apparent; the abiding part of any existence, in distinction from any accident; that which constitutes anything what it is; real or existing essence

  2. Substancenoun

    the most important element in any existence; the characteristic and essential components of anything; the main part; essential import; purport

  3. Substancenoun

    body; matter; material of which a thing is made; hence, substantiality; solidity; firmness; as, the substance of which a garment is made; some textile fabrics have little substance

  4. Substancenoun

    material possessions; estate; property; resources

  5. Substancenoun

    same as Hypostasis, 2

  6. Substanceverb

    to furnish or endow with substance; to supply property to; to make rich

  7. Etymology: [F., fr. L. substantia, fr. substare to be under or present, to stand firm; sub under + stare to stand. See Stand.]


  1. Substance

    Substance is a 1987 compilation album by New Order, consisting of all of the band's singles at that point in their 12-inch versions, together with their respective B-side tracks. The then newly-released non-album single "True Faith" is also featured, along with its B-side "1963". The collection was released on vinyl, double CD, double cassette and Digital Audio Tape.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Substance

    sub′stans, n. that in which qualities or attributes exist, the existence to which qualities belong: that which constitutes anything what it is: the essential part: body: matter: property: foundation, ground, confidence. [L. substantiasubstāre, to stand under—sub, under, stāre, to stand.]

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'substance' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #4155

  2. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'substance' in Nouns Frequency: #1238

How to pronounce substance?

How to say substance in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of substance in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of substance in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of substance in a Sentence

  1. Alexander Pope, Essay on Man:

    Envy will merit, as its shade, pursue, But, like the shadow, proves the substance true.

  2. Amanda Carpenter:

    The more she can contrast that, saying I'm giving you substance, trust me, I am the better person against Donald Trump, she'll do well, she's probably the most capable debater on that stage, in terms of going into a high-stakes environment and blowing out expectations.

  3. Mujtaba Rahman:

    It's hard to see the substance of the customs proposal working for the EU side. It creates regulatory friction with Britain and customs friction with the EU.

  4. Mary Bruce:

    As the public face of the pandemic response, Fauci has become a frequent target, he's previously described a terrifying experience opening an anonymous letter delivered to his office, only to be covered in a cloud of white powder he thought might have been a deadly substance. It was later found not to be hazardous.

  5. Judy McMeekin:

    The samples show a mix of results and no one substance has been identified in all of the samples tested.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for substance

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"substance." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 4 Mar. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/substance>.

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    light informal conversation for social occasions
    • A. auspices
    • B. chin-wag
    • C. congius
    • D. calcaneus

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