noun Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin substantia, from substant-, substans, present participle of substare to stand under, from sub- + stare to stand — more at stand Date: 14th century 1. a. essential nature ; essence b. a fundamental or characteristic part or quality c. Christian Science god 1b 2. a. ultimate reality that underlies all outward manifestations and change b. practical importance ; meaning, usefulness <
the…bill—which will be without substance in the sense that it will authorize nothing more than a set of ideas — Richard Reeves
3. a. physical material from which something is made or which has discrete existence b. matter of particular or definite chemical constitution c. something (as drugs or alcoholic beverages) deemed harmful and usually subject to legal restriction <
possession of a controlled substance
substance abuse
4. material possessions ; property <
a family of substance
substanceless adjective

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


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  • substance — [sub′stəns] n. [OFr < L substantia < substare, to be present < sub , under + stare, to STAND] 1. the real or essential part or element of anything; essence, reality, or basic matter 2. a) the physical matter of which a thing consists;… …   English World dictionary

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