Definition of insubstantial in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌinsəbˈstan(t)SH(ə)l/


1Lacking strength and solidity: the huts are relatively few and insubstantial insubstantial evidence
More example sentences
  • Contrariwise, juries may convict where the judicial decision-maker would find the evidence insubstantial.
  • It amused me to see the insubstantial evidence you had pieced together as your argument against airguns.
  • What has been written is vague and insubstantial.
flimsy, fragile, breakable, weak, frail, slight, unstable, shaky, wobbly, rickety, ramshackle, jerry-built
weak, flimsy, feeble, poor, inadequate, insufficient, tenuous, insignificant, unconvincing, implausible, unsatisfactory, paltry
1.1Not solid or real; imaginary: the flickering light made her face seem insubstantial
More example sentences
  • Her illegitimate position has rendered her wraithlike and insubstantial, almost disembodied.
  • We who lived in the suburbs of towns that were themselves anonymous and mediocre were exiles from the city's Real: insubstantial wraiths, resigned to our status as non-beings.
  • She becomes daily more insubstantial, her figure wraithlike.
intangible, impalpable, untouchable, discarnate, unsubstantial, incorporeal;
imaginary, unreal, illusory, spectral, ghostlike, vaporous, immaterial



Pronunciation: /-ˌstanCHēˈalitē/
Example sentences
  • In spite of the insubstantiality of the materials that Feher uses, his work reveals an underlying muscularity; it's getting pumped up and starting to shoulder itself around.
  • Mill proposed the insubstantiality of the dreamlike future and also that our feeling for the past may be based upon a cosmic joke, a delusion of the dreaming senses.
  • This vagueness and insubstantiality is bound up with the director's artistic-intellectual outlook and methods.


Example sentences
  • That makes him insubstantially sunny, I suppose.
  • How their pale Swedish arms, like sea-polyps, swayed and wavered insubstantially in the northern air!
  • ‘I will go, give me the order’, and Dilger galloped ahead, contributing not insubstantially to the throwing back of the enemy.


Early 17th century: from late Latin insubstantialis, from in- 'not' + substantialis (see substantial).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: in·sub·stan·tial

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