Meaning of SUBSTITUTION in English


ˌsəbztəˈtüshən, -bst-, -tə.ˈtyü- noun

( -s )

Usage: often attributive

Etymology: Middle English substitucion, from Middle French substitution, from Late Latin substitution-, substitutio, from Latin substitutus (past participle of substituere to substitute) + -ion, -io -ion

1. : the substituting of one person or thing for another: as

a. Roman law

(1) : the nomination of someone to be heir upon the failure of an heir previously named to take an inheritance — called also common substitution, vulgar substitution

(2) : the similar nomination of a person to take as heir in place of or to succeed a descendant under puberty and in the potestas of the testator in case of the descendant's failure to take the inheritance or on his death before puberty or to succeed a descendant of any age who is a lunatic

(3) : a designation by a testator that names one to whom property is to be handed over by the person named as heir or by his heir and that gives rise to a fideicommissum ; also : a designation under civil law of a person to succeed to another as beneficiary of an estate used as a means of settling property and involving a fideicommissum

b. : the replacing of a quantity by its equal or of a variable by a value of it or of an algebraic expression or function by one that is equal in value


(1) : a chord that produces an unexpected or less likely resolution in place of a likelier resolution

(2) : a change of fingers on a digital of a keyboard instrument

d. : a chemical reaction in which one or more atoms or groups in a molecule are replaced by equivalent atoms or groups to form at least two products ; especially : the replacement of hydrogen in an organic compound by another element or group

the substitution of one chlorine atom for one hydrogen atom of methane gives methyl chloride

— often contrasted with addition ; compare exchange 2e

e. : the replacing of a linguistic form by a substitute in a context


(1) : the replacing in Greek or Latin prosody of a foot required or expected at a given place in a given meter by another which is equivalent in temporal quantity

(2) : the using in a metrical series in modern prosody of a foot other than the prevailing foot of the series or of a silence that replaces expected sound and occupies the time of a foot or syllable — compare inversion , ionic displacement


(1) : the deceptive replacing of one material or product by another of less worth

(2) : the natural economic tendency for the less costly of two or more operations or agencies to replace the more costly


(1) : the turning from an obstructed desire to another desire whose gratification is socially acceptable

(2) : the turning from an obstructed form of behavior to a different and often more primitive expression of the same tendency

a substitution neurosis

(3) : the reacting to each of a set of stimuli by a response prescribed in a key

a substitution test for speed of learning new responses

2. : something that functions as a substitute or exists in a particular relation as a result of an act of substituting: as

a. : material substituted

the substitution was found to be harmless

b. : a sound change consisting in the replacement or apparent replacement of one vowel or consonant by another

c. : an instance of linguistic substitution

d. : a cipher or method of ciphering that replaces message letters or polygraphs with substitutes

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.