To substantiate is to give support to a claim. We’d really like to believe in the Tooth Fairy; however, more evidence is needed to substantiate her existence (besides that quarter in your pocket).

Substantiate is related to the word substantial, which means "solid." So, to substantiate a claim is to make it solid or believable. If the evidence given in support of an argument is weak and unconvincing, that evidence can be described as insubstantial. Of course, in special cases like the Tooth Fairy, having substantial evidence doesn’t seem to matter; fans just keep on believing.

Definitions of substantiate
  1. verb
    establish or strengthen as with new evidence or facts
    synonyms: affirm, confirm, corroborate, support, sustain
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    contradict, negate
    prove negative; show to be false
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    back, back up
    establish as valid or genuine
    give supporting evidence
    confirm the truth of
    demonstrate, establish, prove, shew, show
    establish the validity of something, as by an example, explanation or experiment
    support or supply with references
    prove valid; show or confirm the validity of something
    check, check off, mark, mark off, tick, tick off
    put a check mark on or near or next to
    ascertain, assure, check, control, ensure, insure, see, see to it
    be careful or certain to do something; make certain of something
    verify by consulting a source or authority
    prove oneself
    show one's ability or courage
    prove formally; demonstrate by a mathematical, formal proof
    specify the origin of
    contradict, negate
    prove negative; show to be false
    prove to be of unsound mind or demonstrate someone's incompetence
  2. verb
    represent in bodily form
    “The painting substantiates the feelings of the artist”
    synonyms: body forth, embody, incarnate
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    type of:
    have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)
  3. verb
    solidify, firm, or strengthen
    “The president's trip will substantiate good relations with the former enemy country”
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    type of:
    beef up, fortify, strengthen
    make strong or stronger
  4. verb
    make real or concrete; give reality or substance to
    “our ideas must be substantiated into actions”
    synonyms: actualise, actualize, realise, realize
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    make concrete and real
    manifest the effects of (a gene or genetic trait)
    type of:
    create, make
    make or cause to be or to become
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