1. Substantial; considerable.
2. Independent in existence or function; not subordinate.
3. Not imaginary; actual; real.
4. Of or relating to the essence or substance; essential: substantive information.
5. Having a solid basis; firm.
6. Grammar Expressing or designating existence; for example, the verb to be.
7. Grammar Designating a noun or noun equivalent.
A word or group of words functioning as a noun.
[Middle English substantif, self-sufficient, independent, from Old French, substantive, from Late Latin substantīvus, from Latin substantia, substance; see SUBSTANCE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.