AskDefine | Define substantive

Dictionary Definition

substantive adj
1 being the essence or essential element of a thing; "substantial equivalents"; "substantive information" [syn: substantial, in essence]
2 applying to essential legal principles and rules of right; "substantive law" [syn: essential] [ant: adjective]
3 having substance and prompting thought; "a meaty discussion" [syn: meaty] n : a noun or a pronoun that is used in place of a noun

User Contributed Dictionary



From substantif.




  1. Of the essence or essential element of a thing; as, "substantive information".
  2. Having substance and prompting thought.
  3. Applying to essential legal principles and rules of right; as, "substantive law".



of the essence or essential element of a thing
  • Finnish: oleellinen, olennainen
having substance and prompting thought
  • Finnish: oleellinen, olennainen


  1. A word that names or refers to a person, place, thing, or idea. Nouns and personal pronouns are always substantives by nature. Other pronouns, numerals and most determiners readily function as substantives in English and many other languages. When present participles function as substantives in English, they are called gerunds; many other languages prefer to use infinitives more often for this purpose. Care in translation is needed when adjectives are used as substantives, because languages differ in which ones are permitted and which ones must remain adjectives.
An example is that English readily uses an adjective of nationality to mean a language whereas French often requires the noun langue (language). Further, languages with plural or gendered articles use these with the substantive adjectives to impart different meanings.


  • Dutch: zelfstandig naamwoord, substantief
  • Esperanto: substantivo
  • Finnish: substantiivi, nimisana
  • French: substantif
  • German: Substantiv
  • Italian: sostantivo
  • Novial: substantive
  • Portuguese: substantivo
  • Romanian: substantiv
  • Spanish: substantivo, sustantivo
  • Turkish: isim



  1. feminine of substantif "nominal"




substantive n p
  1. Plural of substantiv nouns

Extensive Definition

Substantive may refer to:
In grammar:
In law:
  • a matter of substance as opposed to a matter of procedure
  • substantive law as opposed to procedural law
Substantive may also refer to:
  • something that exists in its own right
  • In biochemistry, the ability of chemicals to be retained by skin or hair
  • In diplomacy, matters or fields of greater importance (in contrast to ancillary issues)

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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