Definition of substantial in English:


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  • 1Of considerable importance, size, or worth.

    ‘a substantial amount of cash’
    • ‘This finding is substantial considering the small size of the sample.’
    • ‘But in any case, it is worth a very substantial amount of money to our economy - certainly in the order of a billion dollars or more.’
    • ‘The robbers then ransacked the premises and stole £3,000 worth of cigarettes and a substantial amount of cash.’
    • ‘I had lost substantial amounts of weight and was down to a size 6 because I was running on nervous energy.’
    • ‘There is a substantial amount of imported food in this country which has become cheaper because of the strengthening of the Euro particularly against Sterling.’
    • ‘In the latest incident two masked men - one with a handgun the other with a cosh - tied up the post master before escaping with a substantial amount of cash from Houghton Road Post Office at Thurnscoe.’
    • ‘$250 million is a substantial amount of hard cash to be wasting, but neither candidate will step down lest he lose any potential advantage.’
    • ‘The pair hope to raise a substantial amount of cash for their two chosen charities, York and North Yorkshire Community Foundation and York One World Linking Association.’
    • ‘On Thursday evening last, while a widower attended his wife's funeral, his home in Foxpoint in Barnatra was burgled and a substantial amount of cash taken.’
    • ‘It has raised a substantial amount of cash to fund the move and also received a £260,000 Government grant to specially convert one of its galleries to house the work.’
    • ‘He forced her to open the safe, took what police have described as ‘a substantial amount of cash’ and left the hotel, passing one of the cleaners who was coming in.’
    • ‘While the elderly householder was occupied, one of the robbers made their way into her home on Tuesday afternoon and then made off with a substantial amount of cash.’
    • ‘It has now emerged that police believe Mrs Cooper kept a substantial amount of cash in her home, which along with some prescription medication was found to be missing after her death.’
    • ‘A postmaster has described his horrifying ordeal as he was threatened at gunpoint by three masked robbers, who escaped with a substantial amount of cash.’
    • ‘Police say three pouches containing a substantial amount of cash were handed over before then men made off towards Shoebury in a red hatch back car along Central Avenue.’
    • ‘At least one suspected armed robber was left behind by his partners in crime after a substantial amount of cash was stolen from a South Yorkshire post office.’
    • ‘The joint police operation recovered a substantial amount of cash from the properties and several items were sent for forensic examination.’
    • ‘A police spokesman said all of the units within the Bridge Street premises were entered and a substantial amount of cash and property removed.’
    • ‘It is a compact distillation of a substantial amount of research.’
    • ‘A substantial amount of research examines the prevalence of drug use among offenders and contributes to our knowledge on drugs and crime.’
    considerable, real, material, weighty, solid, sizeable, meaningful, significant, important, notable, major, marked, valuable, useful, worthwhile
    sizeable, considerable, significant, large, ample, appreciable, goodly, decent
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    1. 1.1Strongly built or made.
      ‘a row of substantial Victorian villas’
      • ‘The resonator is wide in the bass, with a substantial, strongly curved pillar and neck.’
      • ‘The property, which sits among the substantial Victorian villas of Helensburgh's desirable upper west end, is laid out over two floors and sits on approximately half an acre of land.’
      • ‘I am staying at the exclusive marina of Port St Charles, on the west of the island, a coastline characterised by grand hotels, substantial villas and private mansions.’
      • ‘When he lost his business, his family had to move from their substantial sandstone villa into the spare bedroom of his mother's Ardrossan flat.’
      • ‘The trouble is, the resources to build something as substantial as Gallery 9 are rare, and normally built bit by bit (excuse the pun) over many years.’
      sturdy, solid, stout, strong, well built, well constructed, durable, long-lasting, hard-wearing, imperishable, impervious
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    2. 1.2(of a meal) large and filling.
      ‘breakfast is a substantial buffet’
      • ‘the first meal of the day should be substantial’
      • ‘Indicators of consistent poverty include lack of heating, at least one day in the previous two weeks without a substantial meal, no warm waterproof overcoat or only one pair of strong shoes.’
      • ‘A good, substantial meal, perhaps more akin to first-rate home cooking than wildly fancy restaurant food, but none the worse for that.’
      • ‘As well as the restrictions regarding supervision and time, the law now insists that a substantial meal be served at the function.’
      • ‘If you wish, add cooked shrimp to the salad or, for a more substantial meal, include slices of cold chicken and rye bread.’
      • ‘In the mood for something other than a sandwich or jacket potato, however, we chose more substantial meals from the specials board.’
      • ‘To make a more substantial meal, serve with some cooked noodles.’
      • ‘For the nominal charge, individual cubicle rooms are provided as well as three substantial meals a day.’
      • ‘This venue provides substantial meals outside our price range but, with care, modest snacks are available.’
      • ‘It's not such a substantial meal, though, and a little pricey for what you get.’
      • ‘Very often these children will get just one meal a day and that would not be a substantial meal.’
      • ‘Just one of the dishes with a bowl of soup and a little salad should prove to be a substantial meal.’
      • ‘As for food I have to try and have a substantial meal at a regular time each day.’
      • ‘Cafés and cafeterias serve open-faced sandwiches with cold meats, smoked fish, or cheese as well as simple but substantial meals of meat or fish and boiled potatoes.’
      • ‘A more substantial meal is available in the guise of lamb cutlets in a plum chutney jus served with couscous and vegetables, for men who just won't eat quiche.’
      • ‘Because it is low in sugar and fat, pasta offers a substantial meal that won't make your blood-sugar or lipid levels soar, thus safeguarding the health of your heart.’
      • ‘Strive to take in at least 30 grams of protein at each substantial meal.’
      • ‘The steak was tender, the vegetables lightly cooked and it was an extremely flavoursome and substantial meal.’
      • ‘I went in thinking I'd have something light at noon and then eat a substantial meal later.’
      • ‘Some Chileans are so poor that they can only afford one substantial meal a day.’
      • ‘Lunch, at midday, is most often a snack in urban areas, but remains a substantial meal in rural centers.’
    3. 1.3Important in material or social terms; wealthy.
      ‘a substantial Devon family’
      • ‘Enjoying a substantial social status, they produced topographical memoirs that provided information specifically devoted to the management of colonies by the state.’
      • ‘There's something rather substantial about him.’
      successful, buoyant, booming, doing well, profit-making, profitable, prosperous, wealthy, affluent, moneyed, well-to-do, rich, large
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  • 2Concerning the essentials of something.

    ‘there was substantial agreement on changing policies’
    • ‘It is concerned with what is substantial (essentialities, or what makes a thing what it is) in things, processes and relations.’
    • ‘But I have two substantial concerns over abortion.’
    • ‘Yet, it appears that the government was not concerned with any substantial violation of the law in this case.’
    • ‘There was substantial concern and it took years to pacify and persuade people these weren't a risk.’
    • ‘And even if we had convincing evidence that these interventions worked, they still raise substantial ethical concerns.’
    fundamental, essential, basic
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  • 3Real and tangible rather than imaginary.

    ‘spirits are shadowy, human beings substantial’
    • ‘It gave voters a substantial and tangible personal reward and it was something Labour would never do.’
    • ‘He argues that social activists need to realise that if they want substantial and tangible results, it is the government above all else which they need to influence.’
    • ‘There is mind, but it is not tangible or substantial.’
    • ‘There's always been a lot of talk about that, and there's always been a lot of lip service paid to it, in my view, rather than anything substantial.’
    • ‘Throughout the NCP process governments have fronted difficult issues and implemented sometimes tough reforms because the gains to the public were real and substantial.’
    real, true, actual, existing
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/ˌsəbˈstan(t)SHəl/ /ˌsəbˈstæn(t)ʃəl/


Middle English from Old French substantiel or Christian Latin substantialis, from substantia ‘being, essence’ (see substance).