n.1 a the essential material, esp. solid, forming a thing (the substance was transparent). b a particular kind of material having uniform properties (this substance is salt).
2 a reality; solidity (ghosts have no substance). b seriousness or steadiness of character (there is no substance in him).
3 the theme or subject of esp. a work of art, argument, etc. (prefer the substance to the style).
4 the real meaning or essence of a thing.
5 wealth and possessions (a woman of substance).
6 Philos. the essential nature underlying phenomena, which is subject to changes and accidents.
Phrases and idioms:
in substance generally; apart from details.
Etymology: ME f. OF f. L substantia (as SUB-, stare stand)