Definition of insubstantial adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˌɪnsəbˈstænʃl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˌɪnsəbˈstænʃl//
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  1. 1not very large, strong or important an insubstantial construction of wood and glue an insubstantial argument an insubstantial meal
  2. 2(literary) not real or solid as insubstantial as a shadow
  3. Word Originearly 17th cent.: from late Latin insubstantialis, from in- ‘not’ + substantialis (from substantia ‘being, essence’, from substant- ‘standing firm’, from the verb substare).
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: insubstantial