Definition of substance noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈsʌbstəns//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈsʌbstəns//
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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. Word OriginMiddle English (denoting the essential nature of something): from Old French, from Latin substantia ‘being, essence’, from substant- ‘standing firm’, from the verb substare.Extra examples His disappearance has given added substance to the argument that he stole the money. Nothing of substance was achieved at the meeting. Some frogs produce toxic substances in their skin. The athletes had taken banned substances to increase their strength. The image of him that the media have presented has no substance. The letters lent substance to the claims. The real substance of the report was in the third part. Their allegations were without substance. There was little substance to his claims. There’s no difference in substance between the two points of view. There’s no substance in the story. a bag full of some unknown substance a natural substance found in the body of animals foreign substances that contaminated the experiments lyrics with substance the material substance of which we are made the substance of the evidence against him Exercise of this kind improves the balance of fatty substances in the bloodstream. He found it difficult to say much of substance. He was disqualified from competing after testing positive to a banned substance. I agree with what he said in substance, though not with every detail. No one raised any matters of substance. Psychoactive drugs are chemical substances that act on the brain. Substances can be divided into elements, compounds and mixtures. The party’s manifesto is good on style but lacks real substance.Idioms
    a man/woman of substance
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    (formal) a rich and powerful man or woman
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: substance