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

n the real physical matter of which a person or thing consists

“DNA is the substance of our genes”
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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
Type of:
that which has mass and occupies space
component, component part, constituent, part, portion
something determined in relation to something that includes it

n material of a particular kind or constitution

“the immune response recognizes invading substances
Type of:
physical entity
an entity that has physical existence

n a particular kind or species of matter with uniform properties

“shigella is one of the most toxic substances known to man”
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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, dilutant, 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

n the choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience

center, centre, core, essence, gist, heart, heart and soul, inwardness, kernel, marrow, meat, nitty-gritty, nub, pith, sum
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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
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

n what a communication that is about something is about

content, message, subject matter
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Articles of Confederation
a written agreement ratified in 1781 by the thirteen original states; it provided a legal symbol of their union by giving the central government no coercive power over the states or their citizens
Communist Manifesto
a socialist manifesto written by Marx and Engels (1842) describing the history of the working-class movement according to their views
First Amendment
an amendment to the Constitution of the United States guaranteeing the right of free expression; includes freedom of assembly and freedom of the press and freedom of religion and freedom of speech
Fifth Amendment
an amendment to the Constitution of the United States that imposes restrictions on the government's prosecution of persons accused of crimes; mandates due process of law and prohibits self-incrimination and double jeopardy; requires just compensation if private property is taken for public use
Fourteenth Amendment
an amendment to the Constitution of the United States adopted in 1868; extends the guarantees of the Bill of Rights to the states as well as to the federal government
Eighteenth Amendment
an amendment to the Constitution of the United States adopted in 1920; prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages; repealed in 1932
Nineteenth Amendment
an amendment to the Constitution of the United States adopted in 1920; guarantees that no state can deny the right to vote on the basis of sex
(Christianity) the announcement to the Virgin Mary by the angel Gabriel of the incarnation of Christ
Parkinson's law
C. Northcote Parkinson's cynical observation that the number of subordinates in an organization will increase linearly regardless of the amount of work to be done
Parkinson's law
C. Northcote Parkinson's cynical observation that work will expand so as to fill the time available for its completion
Canterbury Tales
an uncompleted series of tales written after 1387 by Geoffrey Chaucer
Arabian Nights' Entertainment
a collection of folktales in Arabic dating from the 10th century
Hippocratic oath
an oath taken by physicians to observe medical ethics deriving from Hippocrates
Robert's Rules of Order
a book of rules for presiding over a meeting; written by Henry M. Martin in 1876 and subsequently updated through many editions
ASCII character set
(computer science) 128 characters that make up the ASCII coding scheme
Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System
relational database of the United States National Library of Medicine for the storage and retrieval of bibliographical information concerning the biomedical literature
Princeton WordNet
a machine-readable lexical database organized by meanings; developed at Princeton University
Dow-Jones Industrial Average
an indicator of stock market prices; based on the share values of 30 blue-chip stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange
Standard and Poor's Index
a broadly based stock market index
Lateran Treaty
the agreement signed in the Lateran Palace in 1929 by Italy and the Holy See which recognized the Vatican City as a sovereign and independent papal state
North Atlantic Treaty
the treaty signed in 1949 by 12 countries that established NATO
the first treaty between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics resulting from the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
the second treaty between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics resulting from the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
Peace of Westphalia
the peace treaty that ended the Thirty Years' War in 1648
Chemical Weapons Convention
a global treaty banning the production or acquisition or stockpiling or transfer or use of chemical weapons
Geneva Convention
an agreement first drawn up in Geneva in 1864 and later revised concerning the treatment of captured and wounded military personnel and civilians in wartime
Treaty of Versailles
the treaty imposed on Germany by the Allied powers in 1920 after the end of World War I which demanded exorbitant reparations from the Germans
Missouri Compromise
an agreement in 1820 between pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States concerning the extension of slavery into new territories
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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
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 story about fairies; told to amuse children
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
Type of:
something that is communicated by or to or between people or groups

n the idea that is intended

show 8 types...
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the meaning of a word, phrase, sentence, or text
implication, import, significance
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

n considerable capital (wealth or income)

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

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