Other forms: substances

Any material that possesses physical properties is called a substance. The word also refers to the gist or main idea of something. If you remember the main point of a lesson, you've got the substance.

The meaning of the noun substance has evolved over time, yet it has always been related to something sound and solid — from the Latin root substare, which means "to stand firm," to the Middle English definition as an "essential nature." Nowadays, we use the word to define someone who possesses honesty and intelligence, or when we examine a message to find its essence. To be thought of as a "person of substance" is a good thing, but to be thought of as a "substance abuser" is not so good.

Definitions of substance
  1. noun
    the real physical matter of which a person or thing consists
    “DNA is the substance of our genes”
    see moresee less
    show 162 types...
    hide 162 types...
    body substance
    the substance of the body
    living substance, protoplasm
    the substance of a living cell (including cytoplasm and nucleus)
    the chemical composition and properties of a substance or object
    material, stuff
    the tangible substance that goes into the makeup of a physical object
    a hypothetical substance once believed to be present in all combustible materials and to be released during burning
    (chemistry) a substance consisting of two or more substances mixed together (not in fixed proportions and not with chemical bonding)
    (physics and chemistry) the smallest component of an element having the chemical properties of the element
    chemical element, element
    any of the more than 100 known substances (of which 92 occur naturally) that cannot be separated into simpler substances and that singly or in combination constitute all matter
    (biology) any agency bringing about activation; a molecule that increases the activity of an enzyme or a protein that increases the production of a gene product in DNA transcription
    the substance that is acted upon by an enzyme or ferment
    one of four substances thought in ancient and medieval cosmology to constitute the physical universe
    an intervening substance through which something is achieved
    (biology) a substance in which specimens are preserved or displayed
    a substance that is fluid at room temperature and pressure
    a volatile substance; a substance that changes readily from solid or liquid to a vapor
    any substance possessing to a high degree the predominant properties of a plant or drug or other natural product from which it is extracted
    any heavy material used to stabilize a ship or airship
    bedding, bedding material, litter
    material used to provide a bed for animals
    solid body substance
    the solid parts of the body
    bodily fluid, body fluid, humor, humour, liquid body substance
    the liquid parts of the body
    cytol, cytoplasm
    the protoplasm of a cell excluding the nucleus; is full of proteins that control cell metabolism
    karyoplasm, nucleoplasm
    the protoplasm that constitutes the nucleus of a cell
    germ plasm, plasm
    the protoplasm of the germ cells that contains chromosomes and genes
    chromatin, chromatin granule
    the readily stainable substance of a cell nucleus consisting of DNA and RNA and various proteins; during mitotic division it condenses into chromosomes
    the part of a cell nucleus that is relatively uncolored by stains or dyes
    an obsolete term for the network of viscous material in the cell nucleus on which the chromatin granules were thought to be suspended
    ground substance, intercellular substance, matrix
    the body substance in which tissue cells are embedded
    humor, humour
    (Middle Ages) one of the four fluids in the body whose balance was believed to determine your emotional and physical state
    the natural outer covering of food (usually removed before eating)
    a substance from which another substance is formed (especially by a metabolic reaction)
    atom, corpuscle, molecule, mote, particle, speck
    (nontechnical usage) a tiny piece of anything
    any nuclear or chemical or biological material that can be used as a weapon of mass destruction
    floc, floccule
    a small loosely aggregated mass of flocculent material suspended in or precipitated from a liquid
    an abbreviation for `hazardous material' used on warning signs
    alloy, metal
    a mixture containing two or more metallic elements or metallic and nonmetallic elements usually fused together or dissolving into each other when molten
    a mixture with properties between those of a solution and fine suspension
    a mixture of ingredients
    mechanical mixture
    a mixture whose components can be separated by mechanical means
    a mixture of substances having a minimum melting point
    a homogeneous mixture of two or more substances; frequently (but not necessarily) a liquid solution
    a mixture in which fine particles are suspended in a fluid where they are supported by buoyancy
    material such as sand or gravel used with cement and water to make concrete, mortar, or plaster
    raw material, staple
    material suitable for manufacture or use or finishing
    a material that has been or is capable of being taken up by another substance by either absorption or adsorption
    sorbent, sorbent material
    a material that sorbs another substance; i.e. that has the capacity or tendency to take it up by either absorption or adsorption
    a substance that exhibits diamagnetism
    one of two or more atoms with the same atomic number but with different numbers of neutrons
    (chemistry) an atom having a valence of one
    a structurally different form of an element
    transuranic element
    any element having an atomic number greater than 92 (which is the atomic number of uranium); all are radioactive
    argonon, inert gas, noble gas
    any of the chemically inert gaseous elements of the helium group in the periodic table
    metal, metallic element
    any of several chemical elements that are usually shiny solids that conduct heat or electricity and can be formed into sheets etc.
    a chemical element lacking typical metallic properties
    any of the artificially produced elements with atomic numbers greater than 103
    Ac, actinium, atomic number 89
    a radioactive element of the actinide series; found in uranium ores
    Ar, argon, atomic number 18
    a colorless and odorless inert gas; one of the six inert gases; comprises approximately 1% of the earth's atmosphere
    As, arsenic, atomic number 33
    a very poisonous metallic element that has three allotropic forms; arsenic and arsenic compounds are used as herbicides and insecticides and various alloys; found in arsenopyrite and orpiment and realgar
    At, astatine, atomic number 85
    a highly unstable radioactive element (the heaviest of the halogen series); a decay product of uranium and thorium
    Bh, atomic number 107, bohrium, element 107
    a transuranic element
    B, atomic number 5, boron
    a trivalent metalloid element; occurs both in a hard black crystal and in the form of a yellow or brown powder
    Br, atomic number 35, bromine
    a nonmetallic heavy volatile corrosive dark brown liquid element belonging to the halogens; found in sea water
    C, atomic number 6, carbon
    an abundant nonmetallic tetravalent element occurring in three allotropic forms: amorphous carbon and graphite and diamond; occurs in all organic compounds
    carbon atom
    an atom of carbon
    Cl, atomic number 17, chlorine
    a common nonmetallic element belonging to the halogens; best known as a heavy yellow irritating toxic gas; used to purify water and as a bleaching agent and disinfectant; occurs naturally only as a salt (as in sea water)
    Ds, atomic number 110, darmstadtium, element 110
    a radioactive transuranic element
    Db, atomic number 105, dubnium, element 105, hahnium
    a transuranic element
    F, atomic number 9, fluorine
    a nonmetallic univalent element belonging to the halogens; usually a yellow irritating toxic flammable gas; a powerful oxidizing agent; recovered from fluorite or cryolite or fluorapatite
    Ge, atomic number 32, germanium
    a brittle grey crystalline element that is a semiconducting metalloid (resembling silicon) used in transistors; occurs in germanite and argyrodite
    Hs, atomic number 108, element 108, hassium
    a radioactive transuranic element
    He, atomic number 2, helium
    a very light colorless element that is one of the six inert gasses; the most difficult gas to liquefy; occurs in economically extractable amounts in certain natural gases (as those found in Texas and Kansas)
    H, atomic number 1, hydrogen
    a nonmetallic univalent element that is normally a colorless and odorless highly flammable diatomic gas; the simplest and lightest and most abundant element in the universe
    hydrogen atom
    an atom of hydrogen
    I, atomic number 53, iodin, iodine
    a nonmetallic element belonging to the halogens; used especially in medicine and photography and in dyes; occurs naturally only in combination in small quantities (as in sea water or rocks)
    Kr, atomic number 36, krypton
    a colorless element that is one of the six inert gasses; occurs in trace amounts in air
    Lr, atomic number 103, lawrencium
    a radioactive transuranic element synthesized from californium
    Mt, atomic number 109, element 109, meitnerium
    a radioactive transuranic element
    Md, Mv, atomic number 101, mendelevium
    a radioactive transuranic element synthesized by bombarding einsteinium with alpha particles (Md is the current symbol for mendelevium but Mv was formerly the symbol)
    Ne, atomic number 10, neon
    a colorless odorless gaseous element that give a red glow in a vacuum tube; one of the six inert gasses; occurs in the air in small amounts
    N, atomic number 7, nitrogen
    a common nonmetallic element that is normally a colorless odorless tasteless inert diatomic gas; constitutes 78 percent of the atmosphere by volume; a constituent of all living tissues
    No, atomic number 102, nobelium
    a radioactive transuranic element synthesized by bombarding curium with carbon ions; 7 isotopes are known
    O, atomic number 8, oxygen
    a nonmetallic bivalent element that is normally a colorless odorless tasteless nonflammable diatomic gas; constitutes 21 percent of the atmosphere by volume; the most abundant element in the earth's crust
    P, atomic number 15, phosphorus
    a multivalent nonmetallic element of the nitrogen family that occurs commonly in inorganic phosphate rocks and as organic phosphates in all living cells; is highly reactive and occurs in several allotropic forms
    Pu, atomic number 94, plutonium
    a solid silvery grey radioactive transuranic element whose atoms can be split when bombarded with neutrons; found in minute quantities in uranium ores but is usually synthesized in nuclear reactors; 13 isotopes are known with the most important being plutonium 239
    Rn, atomic number 86, radon
    a radioactive gaseous element formed by the disintegration of radium; the heaviest of the inert gasses; occurs naturally (especially in areas over granite) and is considered a hazard to health
    Rg, atomic number 111, element 111, roentgenium
    a radioactive transuranic element
    Rf, Unq, atomic number 104, element 104, rutherfordium, unnilquadium
    a radioactive transuranic element which has been synthesized
    Sg, atomic number 106, element 106, seaborgium
    a transuranic element
    Se, atomic number 34, selenium
    a toxic nonmetallic element related to sulfur and tellurium; occurs in several allotropic forms; a stable grey metallike allotrope conducts electricity better in the light than in the dark and is used in photocells; occurs in sulfide ores (as pyrite)
    Si, atomic number 14, silicon
    a tetravalent nonmetallic element; next to oxygen it is the most abundant element in the earth's crust; occurs in clay and feldspar and granite and quartz and sand; used as a semiconductor in transistors
    S, atomic number 16, sulfur, sulphur
    an abundant tasteless odorless multivalent nonmetallic element; best known in yellow crystals; occurs in many sulphide and sulphate minerals and even in native form (especially in volcanic regions)
    Te, atomic number 52, tellurium
    a brittle silver-white metalloid element that is related to selenium and sulfur; it is used in alloys and as a semiconductor; occurs mainly as tellurides in ores of copper and nickel and silver and gold
    Uub, atomic number 112, element 112, ununbium
    a radioactive transuranic element
    Uuh, atomic number 116, element 116, ununhexium
    a radioactive transuranic element
    Uup, atomic number 115, element 115, ununpentium
    a radioactive transuranic element
    Uuq, atomic number 114, element 114, ununquadium
    a radioactive transuranic element
    Uut, atomic number 113, element 113, ununtrium
    a radioactive transuranic element
    Xe, atomic number 54, xenon
    a colorless odorless inert gaseous element occurring in the earth's atmosphere in trace amounts
    solid homogeneous inorganic substances occurring in nature having a definite chemical composition
    rock, stone
    material consisting of the aggregate of minerals like those making up the Earth's crust
    adhesive, adhesive agent, adhesive material
    a substance that unites or bonds surfaces together
    sealing material
    any substance used to seal joints or fill cracks in a porous surface
    activating agent
    (mineral extraction) a surface-active chemical used in flotation process to increase the attraction to a specific mineral
    accelerator, catalyst
    (chemistry) a substance that initiates or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected
    sensitiser, sensitizer
    (chemistry) a substance other than a catalyst that facilitates the start of a catalytic reaction
    animal material
    material derived from animals
    any light downy material
    material made by bonding together sheets of two different metals
    abradant, abrasive, abrasive material
    a substance that abrades or wears down
    chemical, chemical substance
    material produced by or used in a reaction involving changes in atoms or molecules
    composite material
    strong lightweight material developed in the laboratory; fibers of more than one kind are bonded together chemically
    a substance that readily conducts e.g. electricity and heat
    dielectric, insulator, nonconductor
    a material such as glass or porcelain with negligible electrical or thermal conductivity
    contaminant, contamination
    a substance that contaminates
    a fluid agent (gas or liquid) that produces cooling; especially one used to cool a system by transferring heat away from one part to another
    particulate, particulate matter
    a small discrete mass of solid or liquid matter that remains individually dispersed in gas or liquid emissions (usually considered to be an atmospheric pollutant)
    free microscopic particles of solid material
    any of various elastic materials that resemble rubber (resumes its original shape when a deforming force is removed)
    once thought to be one of four elements composing the universe (Empedocles)
    once thought to be one of four elements composing the universe (Empedocles)
    earth, ground
    the loose soft material that makes up a large part of the land surface
    once thought to be one of four elements composing the universe (Empedocles)
    ether, quintessence
    the fifth and highest element after air and earth and fire and water; was believed to be the substance composing all heavenly bodies
    once thought to be one of four elements composing the universe (Empedocles)
    discharge, emission
    a substance that is emitted or released
    loose material (stone fragments and silt etc) that is worn away from rocks
    waste, waste material, waste matter, waste product
    any materials unused and rejected as worthless or unwanted
    fiber, fibre
    a slender and greatly elongated substance capable of being spun into yarn
    fill, filling
    any material that fills a space or container
    the product of filtration; a gas or liquid that has been passed through a filter
    a lightweight material in cellular form; made by introducing gas bubbles during manufacture
    free radical, radical
    an atom or group of atoms with at least one unpaired electron; in the body it is usually an oxygen molecule that has lost an electron and will stabilize itself by stealing an electron from a nearby molecule
    freezing mixture
    a mixture of substances (usually salt and ice) to obtain a temperature below the freezing point of water
    Greek fire
    a mixture used by Byzantine Greeks that was often shot at adversaries; catches fire when wetted
    contrast material, contrast medium
    a substance that is opaque to x-rays; when administered it allows a radiologist to examine the organ or tissue it fills
    a gummy orange mixture of uranium oxides and silicates occurring naturally in the hydration and oxidation of pitchblende
    material that has been homogenized (especially tissue that has been ground and mixed)
    material that is high in humic acids
    material with which something is impregnated
    lamellar mixture
    a mixture in which substances occur in distinct layers
    (Greek mythology) the rarified fluid said to flow in the veins of the Gods
    a substance that is liquid at room temperature and pressure
    a mixture of sulfides that forms when sulfide metal ores are smelted
    a mixture of oxygen and acetylene; used to create high temperatures for cutting or welding metals
    a material made of cellulose pulp derived mainly from wood or rags or certain grasses
    packing, packing material, wadding
    any material used especially to protect something
    mineral jelly, petrolatum, petroleum jelly
    a semisolid mixture of hydrocarbons obtained from petroleum; used in medicinal ointments and for lubrication
    color, coloring material, colour, colouring material
    any material used for its color
    plant material, plant substance
    material derived from plants
    a mixture of lime or gypsum with sand and water; hardens into a smooth solid; used to cover walls and ceilings
    radioactive material
    material that is radioactive
    blood platelet, platelet, thrombocyte
    tiny bits of protoplasm found in vertebrate blood; essential for blood clotting
    soda lime
    a mixture of sodium and calcium hydroxides; absorbs liquids and gases
    dissolvent, dissolver, dissolving agent, resolvent, solvent
    a liquid substance capable of dissolving other substances
    thickener, thickening
    any material used to thicken
    a black or colored powder used in a printer to develop a xerographic image
    trace element
    an element that occurs at very small quantities in the body but is nonetheless important for many biological processes
    translucent substance, transparent substance
    a material having the property of admitting light diffusely; a partly transparent material
    the material removed by a cut made underneath
    builder, detergent builder
    a substance added to soaps or detergents to increase their cleansing action
    vernix, vernix caseosa
    a white cheeselike protective material that covers the skin of a fetus
    a small mass of soft material
    a nonmetallic element that has some of the properties of metal
    type of:
    that which has mass and occupies space
    component, component part, constituent, moiety, part, portion
    something determined in relation to something that includes it
  2. noun
    material of a particular kind or constitution
    “the immune response recognizes invading substances
    see moresee less
    type of:
    physical entity
    an entity that has physical existence
  3. noun
    a particular kind or species of matter with uniform properties
    “shigella is one of the most toxic substances known to man”
    see moresee less
    show 120 types...
    hide 120 types...
    food, nutrient
    any substance that can be metabolized by an animal to give energy and build tissue
    any substance (such as a chemical element or inorganic compound) that can be taken in by a green plant and used in organic synthesis
    elixir, philosopher's stone, philosophers' stone
    hypothetical substance that the alchemists believed to be capable of changing base metals into gold
    any substance that can cause an allergy
    a substance that is undergoing an analysis of its components
    pyrectic, pyrogen
    any substance that can cause a rise in body temperature
    any substance characterized by its great flammability
    a substance that forms a gel with water
    adulterant, adulterator
    any substance that lessens the purity or effectiveness of a substance
    propellant, propellent
    any substance that propels
    any substance that serves as a denaturing agent
    a substance that retards or stops an activity
    a substance capable of bringing about fermentation
    a substance that exerts some force or effect
    any substance that produces cancer
    any substance that promotes digestion
    a substance used as a warm moist medicinal compress or poultice
    a substance that can be consumed to produce energy
    lube, lubricant, lubricating substance, lubricator
    a substance capable of reducing friction by making surfaces smooth or slippery
    any substance that is added to another substance to keep it moist
    inoculant, inoculum
    a substance (a virus or toxin or immune serum) that is introduced into the body to produce or increase immunity to a particular disease
    any substance having the consistency of jelly or gelatin
    leaven, leavening
    a substance used to produce fermentation in dough or a liquid
    any substance used to provide cooling (as in a refrigerator)
    any substance (such as an antibody) or agent that can cause lysis
    poison, poisonous substance, toxicant
    any substance that causes injury or illness or death of a living organism
    chemical irritant
    a substance producing irritation
    any substance (as a toxin or enzyme) that stimulates an immune response in the body (especially the production of antibodies)
    a substance (an atom or molecule or radical or ion) that forms a complex around a central atom
    any substance involved in metabolism (either as a product of metabolism or as necessary for metabolism)
    any substance that facilitates the use of a drug or pigment or other material that is mixed with it
    vitellus, yolk
    nutritive material of an ovum stored for the nutrition of an embryo (especially the yellow mass of a bird or reptile egg)
    angiotensin II inhibitor
    an agent that retards or restrains the action of angiotensin II
    any agent that reduces intestinal gas
    antifungal, antifungal agent, antimycotic, antimycotic agent, fungicide
    any agent that destroys or prevents the growth of fungi
    a poisonous crystalline alkaloid extracted from the nightshade family; used as an antispasmodic and to dilate the eye pupil; also administered in large amounts as an antidote for organophosphate nerve agents or organophosphate insecticides
    antimicrobial, antimicrobic, disinfectant, germicide
    an agent (as heat or radiation or a chemical) that destroys microorganisms that might carry disease
    a substance that is used as a medicine or narcotic
    a poisonous crystalline alkaloid (isometric with atropine but more potent); used to treat excess motility of the gastrointestinal tract
    immunizing agent, immunogen
    any substance or organism that provokes an immune response (produces immunity) when introduced into the body
    an agent that kills worms (especially those in the intestines)
    comfort food
    food that is simply prepared and gives a sense of wellbeing; typically food with a high sugar or carbohydrate content that is associated with childhood or with home cooking
    comestible, eatable, edible, pabulum, victual, victuals
    any substance that can be used as food
    the food and drink that are regularly served or consumed
    food product, foodstuff
    a substance that can be used or prepared for use as food
    aliment, alimentation, nourishment, nutriment, nutrition, sustenance, victuals
    a source of materials to nourish the body
    commissariat, provender, provisions, viands, victuals
    a stock or supply of foods
    Jell-O, jello
    fruit-flavored dessert (trade mark Jell-O) made from a commercially prepared gelatin powder
    feed, provender
    food for domestic livestock
    manna, manna from heaven, miraculous food
    (Old Testament) food that God gave the Israelites during the Exodus
    beverage, drink, drinkable, potable
    any liquid suitable for drinking
    a liquid necessary for the life of most animals and plants
    soul food
    food traditionally eaten by African-Americans in the South
    a substance needed only in small amounts for normal body function (e.g., vitamins or minerals)
    a semiliquid mass of partially digested food that passes from the stomach through the pyloric sphincter into the duodenum
    ragweed pollen
    pollen of the ragweed plant is a common allergen
    plant materials and animal waste used as fuel
    occurs in natural gas; used in the manufacture of rubber and fuels
    charcoal, wood coal
    a carbonaceous material obtained by heating wood or other organic matter in the absence of air
    coal gas
    gaseous mixture produced by distillation of bituminous coal and used for heating and lighting
    carbon fuel produced by distillation of coal
    diesel fuel, diesel oil
    a heavy mineral oil used as fuel in diesel engines
    fuel that is burning and is used as a means for cooking
    fossil fuel
    fuel consisting of the remains of organisms preserved in rocks in the earth's crust with high carbon and hydrogen content
    fuel oil, heating oil
    a petroleum product used for fuel
    a gasoline substitute consisting of 90% gasoline and 10% grain alcohol from corn
    gas, gasolene, gasoline, petrol
    a volatile flammable mixture of hydrocarbons (hexane and heptane and octane etc.) derived from petroleum; used mainly as a fuel in internal-combustion engines
    something that can serve as a source of light
    coal oil, kerosene, kerosine, lamp oil
    a flammable hydrocarbon oil used as fuel in lamps and heaters
    methanol, methyl alcohol, wood alcohol, wood spirit
    a light volatile flammable poisonous liquid alcohol; used as an antifreeze and solvent and fuel and as a denaturant for ethyl alcohol
    nuclear fuel
    fuel (such as uranium) that can be used in nuclear reactors as a source of electricity
    colorless gas found in natural gas and petroleum; used as a fuel
    rocket fuel, rocket propellant, rocket propellent
    an explosive charge that propels a rocket
    red fire
    combustible material (usually salts of lithium or strontium) that burns bright red; used in flares and fireworks
    substance that inhibits oxidation or inhibits reactions promoted by oxygen or peroxides
    (chemistry) a substance that retards a chemical reaction or diminishes the activity of a catalyst
    any substance used to slow down neutrons in nuclear reactors
    baking powder
    any of various powdered mixtures used in baking as a substitute for yeast
    alkaliser, alkalizer, antacid, antiacid, gastric antacid
    an agent that counteracts or neutralizes acidity (especially in the stomach)
    a chemical or biological material that inhibits bacterial growth
    blanching agent, bleach, bleaching agent, whitener
    an agent that makes things white or colorless
    chemical agent
    an agent that produces chemical reactions
    coagulant, coagulator
    an agent that produces coagulation
    combustible, combustible material
    a substance that can be burned to provide heat or power
    a fluid agent (gas or liquid) that produces cooling; especially one used to cool a system by transferring heat away from one part to another
    a liquid that boils at below -160 C and is used as a refrigerant
    a substance that partly or completely destroys animal cells
    diluent, thinner
    a diluting agent
    drilling fluid, drilling mud
    a mixture of clays and chemicals and water; pumped down the drill pipe to lubricate and cool the drilling bit and to flush out the cuttings and to strengthen the sides of the hole
    compressed gas
    gas at a high pressure that can be used as a propellant
    propanediol, propylene glycol
    a sweet colorless, viscous, hygroscopic liquid used as an antifreeze and in brake fluid and also as a humectant in cosmetics and personal care items although it can be absorbed through the skin with harmful effects
    any agent that promotes menstrual discharge
    agent that induces milk secretion
    water gas
    a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide with small amounts of other gases; made by blowing steam over hot coke or coal
    culture medium, medium
    (bacteriology) a nutrient substance (solid or liquid) that is used to cultivate micro-organisms
    an agent that induces drowsiness or sleep
    hypoglycaemic agent, hypoglycemic agent
    any of various agents that decrease the level of glucose in the blood and are used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus
    an agent capable of activating specific genes
    any agent that reduces milk secretion (as given to a woman who is not breast feeding)
    any agent that enhances milk production
    an agent that triggers mitosis
    motor oil
    oil used to lubricate the moving parts of a motor
    nerve agent, nerve gas
    a toxic gas that is inhaled or absorbed through the skin and has harmful effects on the nervous and respiratory system
    mineral jelly, petrolatum, petroleum jelly
    a semisolid mixture of hydrocarbons obtained from petroleum; used in medicinal ointments and for lubrication
    an agent that causes a precipitate to form
    any substance that acts as an antigen to cause agglutinin production
    colorless pungent crystalline compound derived from capsicum; source of the hotness of hot peppers of the genus Capsicum such as chili and cayenne and jalapeno
    derived from ginger; source of the hotness of ginger
    piperin, piperine
    derived from pepper (especially black pepper); source of the hotness of black and white pepper
    a family of compounds derived from horseradish and radishes and onions and mustards; source of the hotness of those plants and preparations
    fetoprotein, foetoprotein
    any of several antigens that occur naturally in the fetus and sometimes in adults with cancer
    a poisonous substance produced during the metabolism and growth of certain microorganisms and some higher plant and animal species
    anatoxin, toxoid
    a bacterial toxin that has been weakened until it is no longer toxic but is strong enough to induce the formation of antibodies and immunity to the specific disease caused by the toxin
    Rh, Rh factor, rhesus factor
    a blood group antigen possessed by Rh-positive people; if an Rh-negative person receives a blood transfusion from an Rh-positive person it can result in hemolysis and anemia
    solvating agent
    an agent that converts something into a solvate
    viricide, virucide
    an agent (physical or chemical) that inactivates or destroys viruses
    a leaven of dough in which fermentation is active; used by pioneers for making bread
    wood used for fuel
    igniter, ignitor, lighter
    a substance used to ignite or kindle a fire
    barm, yeast
    a commercial leavening agent containing yeast cells; used to raise the dough in making bread and for fermenting beer or whiskey
    type of:
    that which has mass and occupies space
  4. noun
    the choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience
    synonyms: center, centre, core, essence, gist, heart, heart and soul, inwardness, kernel, marrow, meat, nitty-gritty, nub, pith, sum
    see moresee less
    show 5 types...
    hide 5 types...
    bare bones
    (plural) the most basic facts or elements
    (metaphysics) essential nature or underlying reality
    haecceity, quiddity
    the essence that makes something the kind of thing it is and makes it different from any other
    distillation, quintessence
    the purest and most concentrated essence of something
    a critically important or characteristic component
    type of:
    cognitive content, content, mental object
    the sum or range of what has been perceived, discovered, or learned
  5. noun
    what a communication that is about something is about
    synonyms: content, message, subject matter
    see moresee less
    show 245 types...
    hide 245 types...
    the central message of a communication
    (dated slang) a remarkable or excellent thing or person
    a message that helps you remember something
    petition, postulation, request
    a formal message requesting something that is submitted to an authority
    a written statement of facts submitted in conjunction with a petition to an authority
    latent content
    (psychoanalysis) hidden meaning of a fantasy or dream
    subject, theme, topic
    the subject matter of a conversation or discussion
    aside, digression, divagation, excursus, parenthesis, tangent
    a message that departs from the main subject
    import, meaning, significance, signification
    the message that is intended or expressed or signified
    bunk, hokum, meaninglessness, nonsense, nonsensicality
    a message that seems to convey no meaning
    drivel, garbage
    a worthless message
    acknowledgement, acknowledgment
    a statement acknowledging something or someone
    a message refusing to accept something that is offered
    info, information
    a message received and understood
    counsel, counseling, counselling, direction, guidance
    something that provides direction or advice as to a decision or course of action
    commitment, dedication
    a message that makes a pledge
    approval, commendation
    a message expressing a favorable opinion
    the expression of disapproval
    (often used with `pay') a formal expression of esteem
    discourtesy, disrespect
    an expression of lack of respect
    insertion, interpolation
    a message (spoken or written) that is introduced or inserted
    a message that is stated or declared; a communication (oral or written) setting forth particulars or facts etc
    a nonverbal message
    humor, humour, wit, witticism, wittiness
    a message whose ingenuity or verbal skill or incongruity has the power to evoke laughter
    opinion, view
    a message expressing a belief about something; the expression of a belief that is held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof
    direction, instruction
    a message describing how something is to be done
    something proposed (such as a plan or assumption)
    offer, offering
    something offered (as a proposal or bid)
    entry, submission
    something (manuscripts or architectural plans and models or estimates or works of art of all genres etc.) submitted for the judgment of others (as in a competition)
    narration, narrative, story, tale
    a message that tells the particulars of an act or occurrence or course of events; presented in writing or drama or cinema or as a radio or television program
    packaging, promotion, promotional material, publicity
    a message issued in behalf of some product or cause or idea or person or institution
    subject matter that is calculated to excite and please vulgar tastes
    a sensational message (in a film or play or novel)
    guideline, road map
    a detailed plan or explanation to guide you in setting standards or determining a course of action
    an excessively sentimental narrative
    sum-up, summary
    a brief statement that presents the main points in a concise form
    information that can be used to attack or defend a claim or argument or viewpoint
    something resembling a fact; unverified (often invented) information that is given credibility because it appeared in print
    a list of acknowledgements of those who contributed to the creation of a film (usually run at the end of the film)
    a verbal or written request for assistance or employment or admission to a school
    appeal, collection, ingathering, solicitation
    request for a sum of money
    an acknowledgment (usually tangible) that payment has been made
    (law) a statement in legal and logical form stating something on behalf of a party to a legal proceeding
    bone of contention
    the subject of a dispute
    a subject mentioned earlier (preceding in time)
    lexical meaning
    the meaning of a content word that depends on the nonlinguistic concepts it is used to express
    grammatical meaning
    the meaning of a word that depends on its role in a sentence; varies with inflectional form
    symbolisation, symbolization
    the use of symbols to convey meaning
    sense, signified
    the meaning of a word or expression; the way in which a word or expression or situation can be interpreted
    connotation, intension
    what you must know in order to determine the reference of an expression
    something referred to; the object of a reference
    burden, core, effect, essence, gist
    the central meaning or theme of a speech or literary work
    intent, purport, spirit
    the intended meaning of a communication
    lesson, moral
    the significance of a story or event
    nicety, nuance, refinement, shade, subtlety
    a subtle difference in meaning or opinion or attitude
    (usually plural) an ulterior implicit meaning or quality
    a brief version of the essential meaning of something
    absurdity, absurdness, ridiculousness
    a message whose content is at variance with reason
    amphigory, nonsense verse
    nonsensical writing (usually verse)
    balderdash, fiddle-faddle, piffle
    trivial nonsense
    buzzword, cant
    stock phrases that have become nonsense through endless repetition
    nonsense; foolish talk
    fa la, fal la
    meaningless syllables in the refrain of a partsong
    gibber, gibberish
    unintelligible talking
    incoherence, incoherency, unintelligibility
    nonsense that is simply incoherent and unintelligible
    nonsensical language (according to Lewis Carroll)
    flummery, mummery
    meaningless ceremonies and flattery
    empty talk, empty words, hot air, palaver, rhetoric
    loud and confused and empty talk
    rigamarole, rigmarole
    a set of confused and meaningless statements
    schmegegge, shmegegge
    (Yiddish) baloney; hot air; nonsense
    hooey, poppycock, stuff, stuff and nonsense
    senseless talk
    baloney, bilgewater, boloney, bosh, drool, humbug, taradiddle, tarradiddle, tommyrot, tosh, twaddle
    pretentious or silly talk or writing
    buncombe, bunk, bunkum, guff, hogwash, rot
    unacceptable behavior (especially ludicrously false statements)
    applesauce, codswallop, folderol, rubbish, trash, tripe, trumpery, wish-wash
    nonsensical talk or writing
    pablum, pap
    worthless or oversimplified ideas
    farewell, word of farewell
    an acknowledgment or expression of goodwill at parting
    greeting, salutation
    (usually plural) an acknowledgment or expression of good will (especially on meeting)
    aloha, ciao
    an acknowledgment that can be used to say hello or goodbye (aloha is Hawaiian and ciao is Italian)
    handclasp, handshake, handshaking, shake
    grasping and shaking a person's hand (as to acknowledge an introduction or to agree on a contract)
    an expression of regret at having caused trouble for someone
    mea culpa
    an acknowledgment of your error or guilt
    commiseration, condolence
    an expression of sympathy with another's grief
    declination, regrets
    a polite refusal of an invitation
    information that is incorrect
    information (data or ideas or observations) that can be used or reworked into a finished form
    details, inside information
    true confidential information
    a statement or assertion of verified information about something that is the case or has happened
    data format, data formatting, format, formatting
    the organization of information according to preset specifications (usually for computer processing)
    informal term for information
    an organized body of related information
    intelligence, news, tidings, word
    information about recent and important events
    informal information of any kind that is not previously known to someone
    nuts and bolts
    detailed practical information about how something works or how something can be accomplished
    intelligence, intelligence information
    secret information about an enemy (or potential enemy)
    information that confirms or verifies
    career counseling
    counseling on career opportunities
    something that provides guidance (as Polaris guides mariners)
    genetic counseling
    guidance for prospective parents on the likelihood of genetic disorders in their future children
    marriage counseling
    counseling on marital problems and disagreements
    confidential information, hint, lead, steer, tip, wind
    an indication of potential opportunity
    insider information
    important information about the plans or condition of a corporation that has not been released to the public; use for personal profit is illegal
    any one of a systematic body of regulations defining the way of life of members of a religious order
    prescript, rule
    prescribed guide for conduct or action
    directions for the conduct of Christian church services (often printed in red in a prayer book)
    a proposal for an appropriate course of action
    arcanum, secret
    information known only to a special group
    something that should remain hidden from others (especially information that is not to be passed on)
    information that is spread for the purpose of promoting some cause
    course of study, curriculum, program, programme, syllabus
    an integrated course of academic studies
    information reported in a newspaper or news magazine
    oath, swearing
    a commitment to tell the truth (especially in a court of law); to lie under oath is to become subject to prosecution for perjury
    (religion) a solemn declaration that serves the same purpose as an oath (if an oath is objectionable to the person on religious or ethical grounds)
    official recognition or approval
    countenance, endorsement, imprimatur, indorsement, sanction, warrant
    formal and explicit approval
    credit, recognition
    connivance, secret approval, tacit consent
    (law) tacit approval of someone's wrongdoing
    approval to do something
    the expression of approval and support
    acclaim, acclamation, eclat, plaudit, plaudits
    enthusiastic approval
    applause, clapping, hand clapping
    a demonstration of approval by clapping the hands together
    a cry or shout of approval
    congratulations, extolment, kudos, praise
    an expression of approval and commendation
    testimonial, tribute
    something given or done as an expression of esteem
    condemnation, disapprobation
    an expression of strong disapproval; pronouncing as wrong or morally culpable
    criticism, unfavorable judgment
    disapproval expressed by pointing out faults or shortcomings
    abuse, contumely, insult, revilement, vilification
    a rude expression intended to offend or hurt
    contemptuous laughter
    language or behavior intended to mock or humiliate
    contempt, scorn
    open disrespect for a person or thing
    depreciation, derogation, disparagement
    a communication that belittles somebody or something
    cheek, impertinence, impudence
    an impudent statement
    a statement that is added to or revises or improves a proposal or document (a bill or constitution etc.)
    a statement regarded as an object
    true statement, truth
    a true statement
    description, verbal description
    a statement that represents something in words
    a statement that is emphatic and explicit (spoken or written)
    announcement, annunciation, declaration, proclamation
    a formal public statement
    Bill of Rights
    a statement of fundamental rights and privileges (especially the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution)
    a conventionalized statement expressing some fundamental principle
    mathematical statement
    a statement of a mathematical relation
    (law) all the means by which any alleged matter of fact whose truth is investigated at judicial trial is established or disproved
    bid, bidding
    (bridge) the number of tricks a bridge player is willing to contract to make
    a brief statement
    account, explanation
    a statement that makes something comprehensible by describing the relevant structure or operation or circumstances etc.
    explanandum, explicandum
    (logic) a statement of something (a fact or thing or expression) to be explained
    (logic) statements that explain the explicandum; the explanatory premises
    value statement
    a statement of the desirability of something
    a statement of facts and reasons made in appealing or protesting
    answer, resolution, result, solution, solvent
    a statement that solves a problem or explains how to solve the problem
    answer, reply, response
    a statement (either spoken or written) that is made to reply to a question or request or criticism or accusation
    announcement, promulgation
    a public statement containing information about an event that has happened or is going to happen
    forecasting, foretelling, prediction, prognostication
    a statement made about the future
    (logic) a statement that affirms or denies something and is either true or false
    a statement of the current market price of a security or commodity
    falsehood, falsity, untruth
    a false statement
    a statement that is restrained in ironic contrast to what might have been said
    qualification, reservation
    a statement that limits or restricts some claim
    cautious statement
    a statement made with careful qualifications
    comment, commentary
    a written explanation or criticism or illustration that is added to a book or other textual material
    comment, input, remark
    a statement that expresses a personal opinion or belief or adds information
    rhetorical question
    a statement that is formulated as a question but that is not supposed to be answered
    a statement that contains a mistake
    a revised statement
    agreement, understanding
    the statement (oral or written) of an exchange of promises
    condition, term
    (usually plural) a statement of what is required as part of an agreement
    jeu d'esprit
    a witty comment or writing
    bon mot, mot
    a clever remark
    esprit de l'escalier
    a witty remark that occurs to you too late
    bite, pungency
    wit having a sharp and caustic quality
    caustic remark, irony, sarcasm, satire
    witty language used to convey insults or scorn
    adroitness and cleverness in reply
    gag, jape, jest, joke, laugh
    a humorous anecdote or remark intended to provoke laughter
    caricature, imitation, impersonation
    a representation of a person that is exaggerated for comic effect
    cartoon, sketch
    a humorous or satirical drawing published in a newspaper or magazine
    fun, play, sport
    verbal wit or mockery (often at another's expense but not to be taken seriously)
    ribald humor
    an exceedingly good witticism that surpasses all that have gone before
    adverse opinion
    an opinion concerning financial statements (usually based on an audit by a CPA) that the statements as a whole do not present results fairly or are not in conformity with the generally accepted accounting practices of the United States
    conjecture, guess, hypothesis, speculation, supposition, surmisal, surmise
    a message expressing an opinion based on incomplete evidence
    position, side
    an opinion that is held in opposition to another in an argument or dispute
    a statement indicating the likely cost of some job
    head, question
    the subject matter at issue
    incorrect directions or instructions
    address, destination, name and address
    written directions for finding some location; written on letters or packages that are to be delivered to that location
    detailed stylistic instructions for typesetting something that is to be printed; manual markup is usually written on the copy (e.g. underlining words that are to be set in italics)
    directions prescribed beforehand; the action of prescribing authoritative rules or directions
    formula, recipe
    directions for making something
    directions that define the way a game or sport is to be conducted
    stage direction
    an instruction written as part of the script of a play
    editorial directions to be followed in spelling and punctuation and capitalization and typographical display
    chemical formula, formula
    a representation of a substance using symbols for its constituent elements
    read-out, readout
    the information displayed or recorded on an electronic device
    phylactery, tefillin
    (Judaism) either of two small leather cases containing texts from the Hebrew Scriptures (known collectively as tefillin); traditionally worn (on the forehead and the left arm) by Jewish men during morning prayer
    tabular matter, tabulation
    information set out in tabular form
    blasphemous language (expressing disrespect for God or for something sacred)
    contract offer
    offer by an employer to contract to pay an employee at a given rate
    marriage offer, marriage proposal, proposal, proposal of marriage
    an offer of marriage
    an offer for a private bargain (especially a request for sexual favors)
    a proposal offered as an alternative to an earlier proposal
    a proposal intended to explain certain facts or observations
    proffer, proposition, suggestion
    a proposal offered for acceptance or rejection
    a new proposal
    a proposal of something previously rejected
    motion, question
    a formal proposal for action made to a deliberative assembly for discussion and vote
    an offer made by someone who has rejected a prior offer
    bid, tender
    a formal proposal to buy at a specified price
    a formal written offer to sell securities (filed with the SEC) that sets forth a plan for a (proposed) business enterprise
    tender offer
    an offer to buy shares in a corporation (usually above the market price) for cash or securities or both
    the offer of money for helping to find a criminal or for returning lost property
    rights issue, rights offering
    an offering of common stock to existing shareholders who hold subscription rights or pre-emptive rights that entitle them to buy newly issued shares at a discount from the price at which they will be offered to the public later
    a special offering (usually temporary and at a reduced price) that is featured in advertising
    olive branch, peace offering
    something offered to an adversary in the hope of obtaining peace
    an offer of two for the price of one
    the entering of a legal document into the public record
    an urgent or peremptory request
    a factual statement made by one party in order to induce another party to enter into a contract
    a statement of taxable goods or of dutiable properties
    an acknowledgment of the truth of something
    confidential information about a topic or person
    information in some unspecified form
    report, report card
    a written evaluation of a student's scholarship and deportment
    tall tale
    an improbable (unusual or incredible or fanciful) story
    folk tale, folktale
    a tale circulated by word of mouth among the common folk
    sob story, sob stuff
    a sentimental story (or drama) of personal distress; designed to arouse sympathy
    fairy story, fairy tale, fairytale
    a children's story involving imaginary, magical or fantastical beings or elements
    nursery rhyme
    a tale in rhymed verse for children
    a verbal commitment by one person to another agreeing to do (or not to do) something in the future
    a statement intended to inspire confidence
    assurance, pledge
    a binding commitment to do or give or refrain from something
    an acknowledgment of appreciation
    a detailed statement giving facts and figures
    the principal theme in a speech or literary work
    highly favorable publicity and praise
    PR, public relations
    a promotion intended to create goodwill for a person or institution
    blurb, endorsement, indorsement
    a promotional statement (as found on the dust jackets of books)
    ballyhoo, hoopla, hype, plug
    blatant or sensational promotion
    pitch, sales pitch, sales talk
    promotion by means of an argument and demonstration
    ad, advert, advertisement, advertising, advertizement, advertizing
    a public promotion of some product or service
    sales promotion
    promotion that supplements or coordinates advertising
    the expression of opposition and disapproval
    system command
    a computer user's instruction (not part of a program) that calls for action by the computer's executive program
    a negative statement; a statement that is a refusal or denial of some other statement
    a suggested law or policy that citizens can vote for or against
    a request to a court for a ruling or order
    type of:
    something that is communicated by or to or between people or groups
  6. noun
    the idea that is intended
    synonyms: meaning
    see moresee less
    show 8 types...
    hide 8 types...
    the meaning of a word, phrase, sentence, or text
    implication, import, significance, subtext
    a meaning that is not expressly stated but can be inferred
    strain, tenor
    the general meaning or substance of an utterance
    undercurrent, undertone
    a subdued emotional quality underlying an utterance; implicit meaning
    denotation, extension, reference
    the most direct or specific meaning of a word or expression; the class of objects that an expression refers to
    the relation between a word or phrase and the object or idea it refers to
    an idea that is implied or suggested
    drift, purport
    the pervading meaning or tenor
    type of:
    idea, thought
    the content of cognition; the main thing you are thinking about
  7. noun
    considerable capital (wealth or income)
    synonyms: means
    see moresee less
    your personal financial means
    the necessary means (especially financial means)
    type of:
    wealth in the form of money or property owned by a person or business and human resources of economic value




Cite this entry
  • MLA
  • APA
  • Chicago

Copy citation
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘substance'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
Word Family

Look up substance for the last time

Close your vocabulary gaps with personalized learning that focuses on teaching the words you need to know.

VocabTrainer -'s Vocabulary Trainer