"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[in-suh b-stan-shuh l] /ˌɪn səbˈstæn ʃəl/
not substantial or real; lacking substance:
an insubstantial world of dreams.
not solid or firm; weak; flimsy.
not substantial in amount or size; inconsiderable:
an insubstantial sum.
Origin of insubstantial
1600-10; < Late Latin insubstantiālis. See in-3, substantial
Related forms
insubstantiality, noun
insubstantially, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for insubstantial
  • The only outrage results from your insubstantial argument.
  • The abbey itself requires a not-insubstantial stair climb, so be prepared to walk if you wish to see the top.
  • Too many people are tenured in formulaic ways and for insubstantial reasons.
  • At sunset the pier becomes a work of art, as insubstantial as a barred cloud floating on the fiery waves.
  • Lonely groups of whitewashed houses, looking insubstantial in the heat, melt into the landscape.
  • He wishes that he could go back and tell himself that his poverty would be as insubstantial as his education.
  • It was an acknowledgment that her brother had lived on a big stage but had understood that its insubstantial pageant would fade.
  • The biggest shock of the exhibition, in fact, is that such an insubstantial picture could cause so much fuss.
  • The town, in the end, proved as insubstantial as smoke.
  • Yet, presently, there is insubstantial direct archaeological evidence to support this interpretation.
British Dictionary definitions for insubstantial


not substantial; flimsy, tenuous, or slight
imaginary; unreal
Derived Forms
insubstantiality, noun
insubstantially, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for insubstantial

c.1600, from Medieval Latin insubstantialis, from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + substantialis (see substantial). Related: Insubstantially.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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