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substantive Syllabification: sub·stan·tive

Definition of substantive in English:


Pronunciation: /ˈsəbstən(t)iv/
1Having a firm basis in reality and therefore important, meaningful, or considerable: there is no substantive evidence for the efficacy of these drugs
More example sentences
  • But it is important to note that substantive discussions of issues rarely entered into Five Points political contests.
  • Parties are unstable and hard to distinguish on the basis of substantive issues.
  • Some students of the media have developed a notion of the game schema model, where tactics and strategy are now more important than substantive issues.
2Having a separate and independent existence.
Example sentences
  • Nothing has a substantive existence apart from everything else and exists only in the context of everything else.
  • It therefore appeared to be a substantive, independent factor.
2.1(Of a dye) not needing a mordant.
Example sentences
  • Not all dyes need mordants to help them adhere to fabric. If they need no mordants, such as lichens and walnut hulls, they are called substantive dyes.
3(Of law) defining rights and duties as opposed to giving the rules by which such things are established.
Example sentences
  • The submission there is that one needs primary statutory backing before a power to make procedural rules can affect substantive limitation periods.
  • Each procedural pigeon-hole contains its own rules of substantive law, and it is with great caution that we may argue from what is found in one to what will probably be found in another; each has its own precedents.
  • But judicial comity requires restraint, based on mutual respect not only for the integrity of one another's process, but also for one another's procedural and substantive laws.


Pronunciation: /ˈsəbstən(t)iv/
Grammar Back to top  
A noun.
Example sentences
  • All entities, substantives, adverbs, sentences are patiently, and joyously, called into question.
  • In short, it rejected the idea that Father, Son, and Spirit are either merely adjectives or full substantives.
  • Nathan said only enough to indicate that he was using language with an unaccustomed force and intelligence - but mildly annoying, as if all substantives fell away, leaving only the prepositions.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'having an independent existence'): from Old French substantif, -ive or late Latin substantivus, from substantia 'essence' (see substance).



Pronunciation: /ˌsəbstənˈtīvəl/
Example sentences
  • Absolute theories are called ‘substantival’ or ‘substantial’ if they require spacetime to be a substance.
  • Here, however, its position appears to suggest that it is a substantival adjective qualifying ‘inhibition’.
  • It is clear that we must proceed with great care if we are to employ this substantival terminology.


Example sentences
  • Their legal representatives have said they are confident of winning the appeal as the club had been ‘procedurally and substantively wrong in the way it acted’.
  • The response is substantively irrelevant to the argument.
  • The people of Britain and the United States are living in parallel, yet substantively different, media universes.

Definition of substantive in:

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arrogantly superior and disdainful