from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Substantial; considerable.
  • adj. Independent in existence or function; not subordinate.
  • adj. Not imaginary; actual; real.
  • adj. Of or relating to the essence or substance; essential: substantive information.
  • adj. Having a solid basis; firm.
  • adj. Grammar Expressing or designating existence; for example, the verb to be.
  • adj. Grammar Designating a noun or noun equivalent.
  • n. Grammar A word or group of words functioning as a noun.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of the essence or essential element of a thing; as, "substantive information".
  • adj. Having substance and prompting thought.
  • adj. Applying to essential legal principles and rules of right; as, "substantive law".
  • adj. Of a dye that does not need the use of a mordant to be made fast to that which is being dyed.
  • n. A word that names or refers to a person, place, thing, or idea. Nouns and personal pronouns are always substantives by nature.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Betokening or expressing existence.
  • adj. Depending on itself; independent.
  • adj. Enduring; solid; firm; substantial.
  • adj. Pertaining to, or constituting, the essential part or principles.
  • n. A noun or name; the part of speech which designates something that exists, or some object of thought, either material or immaterial.
  • transitive v. To substantivize.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Betokening or expressing existence: as, the substantive verb.
  • Depending on itself; independent; self-dependent; hence, individual.
  • Substantial; solid; enduring; firm; permanent; real.
  • Independent; not to be inferred from something else, but itself explicitly and formally expressed.
  • In grammar, of the nature of a noun, usable as subject or object of a verb and in other noun constructions: as, a substantive word; a substantive pronoun; a substantive clause.
  • n. In grammar, a noun; a part of speech that can be used as subject or as object of a verb, be governed by a preposition, or the like.
  • n. An independent thing or person.
  • To convert into or use as a substantive.
  • In biology, concerning or pertaining to the construction or constitution of the parts of the bodies of organisms, as contrasted with the symmetry or merism of these parts in relation to one another.
  • Milit., actual or real, as rank; having the actual rank of.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. defining rights and duties as opposed to giving the rules by which rights and duties are established
  • n. any word or group of words functioning as a noun
  • adj. being on topic and prompting thought
  • adj. having a firm basis in reality and being therefore important, meaningful, or considerable


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English substantif, self-sufficient, independent, from Old French, substantive, from Late Latin substantīvus, from Latin substantia, substance; see substance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French substantif.



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  • I'm fascinated by this comment (not this one, the other one), whatever it means.

    October 1, 2010

  • greetings. this was used by Glen Nelson , Ceramics have been selected and treated as elements fully as substantive as the text its self.

    September 30, 2010