American English

Definition of substance noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] a type of solid, liquid, or gas that has particular qualities a chemical/radioactive, etc. substance banned/illegal substances (= drugs) a sticky substance
  2. 2[uncountable] the quality of being based on facts or the truth It was malicious gossip, completely without substance. The commission's report gives substance to these allegations. There is some substance in what he says.
  3. 3[uncountable] the most important or main part of something Love and guilt form the substance of his new book. I agreed with what she said in substance, though not with every detail. There seems to be no difference in substance between the two procedures.
  4. 4[uncountable] (formal) importance synonym significance matters of substance Nothing of any substance was achieved in the meeting.
  5. Idioms
    a man/woman of substance (formal)
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    a rich and powerful man or woman
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: substance