Definition of insubstantial in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪnsəbˈstanʃ(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, slight, light, fragile, breakable, weak, frail, shaky, unstable, wobbly, tottery, rickety, ramshackle, makeshift;
jerry-built, badly built, thrown together, cheap, shoddy, gimcrack
weak, flimsy, feeble, poor, inadequate, insufficient, thin, slight, tenuous, insignificant, inconsequential, unsubstantial, unconvincing, implausible, unsatisfactory, paltry, trifling, trivial, shallow
1.1Not having physical existence: 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, indefinable, indescribable, vague, obscure, unclear, indistinct;
untouchable, imperceptible to the touch, unsubstantial, incorporeal;



Pronunciation: /ɪnsəbstanʃɪˈalɪti/
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

Line breaks: in|sub¦stan|tial

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