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How to pronounce insubstantial (audio)


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Dictionary definition of insubstantial

Lacking solidity, substance, or material weight, often suggesting that something is flimsy, fragile, or unsubstantial in nature.
"The evidence was insubstantial and the case was dismissed."

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Detailed meaning of insubstantial

When we characterize something as insubstantial, we emphasize its thin, delicate, or ephemeral qualities, indicating that it may not possess the strength, durability, or presence typically associated with more substantial objects or ideas. Insubstantial things or arguments may seem weak, transient, or lacking in substance, making them less convincing or credible. This term conveys a sense of fragility and a lack of robustness, suggesting that the subject may be easily overlooked or dismissed due to its delicate or fleeting nature. Whether referring to physical objects, concepts, or arguments, "insubstantial" implies a relative lack of substance or significance.

Example sentences containing insubstantial

1. The allegations made against him were insubstantial, lacking any concrete evidence.
2. Her insubstantial grasp of mathematics made the advanced problems difficult for her.
3. The insubstantial arguments made by the defense attorney did not convince the jury.
4. With only an insubstantial income, he struggled to support his family.
5. The veil she wore was insubstantial, barely visible in the dim light.
6. She dismissed his efforts as insubstantial, feeling he could do more to help.

History and etymology of insubstantial

The adjective 'insubstantial' derives its etymology from two Latin components: 'in-' (meaning 'not') and 'substantia' (meaning 'substance' or 'essence'). When combined, 'insubstantial' conveys the idea of something that lacks substance or solidity, often suggesting that it is flimsy, fragile, or insubstantial in nature. This etymology highlights the absence of essential material or weight, emphasizing the notion of fragility and lack of substantial presence. Consequently, 'insubstantial' serves as an apt descriptor for things that lack physical or metaphorical weight, and it can refer to concepts, ideas, or objects that appear insubstantial, lacking in substance or significance.

Quiz: Find the meaning of insubstantial

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Further usage examples of insubstantial

1. The cake was insubstantial and dry, leaving us unsatisfied.
2. The evidence against him was so insubstantial that the judge dismissed the case.
3. Despite the insubstantial portions, the food was delicious.
4. I found the novel insubstantial, lacking the depth I usually enjoy in my reads.
5. They were only insubstantial shadows against the night sky, barely visible to the naked eye.
6. Despite its grand appearance, the castle's foundation was insubstantial, crumbling under the weight.
7. He seemed insubstantial, as if a breeze could blow him away.
8. The difference between the two candidates' platforms was insubstantial, confusing voters.
9. She dismissed his feelings as insubstantial, causing a rift in their relationship.
10. The company’s insubstantial profits this year worried the shareholders.
11. Her insubstantial promises did little to ease my worries.
12. The insubstantial findings in the report were not enough to support the theory.
13. With only an insubstantial outline of the plan, they were unprepared for the project.
14. The ghost's figure was insubstantial, but its presence was palpable.



flimsy, solid, substantial, robust


SAT 19 (Scholastic Assessment Test), Deficiency and Shortage, Dull and Uninteresting

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