Other forms: substituted; substitutes; substituting

Something or someone that takes the place of another is said to be a substitute. You may be sent into a game as a substitute for an injured player, or you might substitute chocolate chips for blueberries in a pancake recipe.

Substitute can be used as an adjective to describe something or someone that takes the place of another. Teenagers are notoriously hard on substitute teachers, sometimes giving them fake names or wrong information about classroom work. Substitute can also be used as a verb. So if you are asked to substitute for a teacher, you probably shouldn't believe everything the students tell you!

Definitions of substitute
  1. noun
    a person or thing that takes or can take the place of another
    synonyms: replacement
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    an artificial or inferior substitute or imitation
    a thing or person that immediately replaces something or someone
    (medicine) something that can be used as a substitute (especially any medicine that may be taken in place of another)
    type of:
    a person or thing equal to another in value, measure, force, effect, significance, etc.
  2. noun
    someone who takes the place of another (as when things get dangerous or difficult)
    synonyms: backup, backup man, fill-in, relief, reliever, stand-in
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    locum, locum tenens
    someone (physician or clergyman) who substitutes temporarily for another member of the same profession
    double, stunt man, stunt woman
    a stand-in for movie stars to perform dangerous stunts
    alternate, replacement, surrogate
    someone who takes the place of another person
    type of:
    compeer, equal, match, peer
    a person who is of equal standing with another in a group
  3. noun
    an athlete who plays only when a starter on the team is replaced
    synonyms: reserve, second-stringer
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    bench warmer
    (sports) a substitute who seldom plays
    pinch hitter
    (baseball) a substitute for the regular batter
    type of:
    athlete, jock
    a person trained to compete in sports
  4. verb
    put in the place of another; switch seemingly equivalent items
    substitute regular milk with fat-free milk”
    synonyms: exchange, interchange, replace
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    show 5 types...
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    move and exchange for another
    reduce, simplify
    simplify the form of a mathematical equation of expression by substituting one term for another
    replace a corner by a plane
    provide (a workshop or factory) with new tools
    substitute one creditor for another, as in the case where an insurance company sues the person who caused an accident for the insured
    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
  5. verb
    be a substitute
    “The young teacher had to substitute for the sick colleague”
    “The skim milk substitutes for cream--we are on a strict diet”
    synonyms: fill in, stand in, sub
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    type of:
    change, exchange, interchange
    give to, and receive from, one another
  6. verb
    act as a substitute
    synonyms: deputise, deputize, step in
    see moresee less
    help out by taking someone's place and temporarily assuming his responsibilities
    type of:
    replace, supercede, supersede, supervene upon, supplant
    take the place or move into the position of
  7. adjective
    serving or used in place of another
    synonyms: alternate, alternative
    being of second rank or importance or value; not direct or immediate
  8. adjective
    artificial and inferior
    substitute coffee”
    synonyms: ersatz
    artificial, unreal
    contrived by art rather than nature
  9. adjective
    capable of substituting in any of several positions on a team
    synonyms: utility
    being of second rank or importance or value; not direct or immediate




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