- 1a person or thing that you use or have instead of the one you normally use or have a meat substitute a substitute family substitute for somebody/something Paul's father only saw him as a substitute for his dead brother. The course teaches you the theory, but there's no substitute for practical experience. The local bus service was a poor substitute for their car.
- 2(informal sub) a player who replaces another player in a sports game He was brought on as (a) substitute after half-time.
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