Meaning of SUBSTANCE in English
sub ‧ stance W3 /ˈsʌbstəns/ BrE AmE noun
[ Word Family: noun : ↑ substance , ↑ substantiation , ↑ substantive ; adjective : ↑ substantial ≠ ↑ insubstantial , ↑ substantive ; verb : ↑ substantiate ; adverb : ↑ substantially ]
[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: Latin substantia , from substare 'to stand under' ]
1 . MATERIAL [countable] a particular type of solid, liquid, or gas:
The leaves were covered with a strange sticky substance.
dangerous/toxic/hazardous/poisonous etc substance
harmful substances in the atmosphere
Plutonium 238 is one of the most toxic substances known to man.
illegal/banned/prohibited/controlled substance (=used especially about illegal drugs)
Police found an illegal substance in his car.
2 . TRUTH [uncountable usually in questions and negatives] formal if something has substance, it is true:
There is no substance to the rumours (=they are untrue) .
without substance (=untrue)
O'Connell’s remarks are completely without substance.
3 . IDEAS [singular, uncountable] the most important ideas contained in an argument or piece of writing SYN essence :
The substance of his argument was that people on welfare should work.
What she said, in substance, was that the mayor should resign.
4 . IMPORTANCE [uncountable] formal importance SYN significance :
It was an entertaining speech, but it lacked substance (=there was no important information in it) .
matters/issues of substance
We should be discussing matters of substance.
5 . man/woman of substance British English literary a rich man or woman
• • •
▪ a dangerous/hazardous/harmful substance
Using chemicals or othe hazardous substances at work can put people's health at risk.
▪ a poisonous substance ( also a noxious substance formal ) (=harmful to people)
Cigarette smoke contains several poisonous substances.
▪ a toxic substance (=harmful to people and the environment)
All toxic substances should be labelled and carefully stored in a safe place.
▪ a radioactive substance (=containing a form of energy that can harm people)
People who work with radioactive substances are subject to strict regulations.
▪ an illegal/banned/prohibited substance (=used mainly to refer to illegal drugs)
Any player found guilty of using banned substances faces the prospect of a lengthy suspension.
▪ a controlled substance law (=an illegal drug)
He was charged with possessing a controlled substance.
▪ an organic substance (=from a living thing)
Despite being an organic substance, ivory is remarkably durable.
• • •
■ a solid or liquid substance
▪ material noun [uncountable and countable] a substance, especially one that can be used for making things:
The island has to import oil and other raw materials (=materials used for making things) .
▪ substance noun [countable] a type of material such as a chemical or a mineral:
The green colour of the leaf is due to a substance called chlorophyll.
Dioxin is one of the most toxic substances known to man.
▪ matter noun [uncountable] formal a type of substance – used especially in the following phrases:
waste matter from the body
It is important to add plenty of organic matter to the soil.
People throw away lots of vegetable matter.
▪ stuff noun [uncountable] informal a substance - used especially when you do not know exactly what it is:
What’s that sticky stuff on the floor?
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. Longman - Словарь современного английского языка. 2012