c.1300, "essential nature," from O.Fr. substance
(12c.), from L. substantia
"being, essence, material," from substans
, prp. of substare
"stand firm, be under or present," from sub
"up to, under" + stare
"to stand," from PIE base *sta-
"to stand" (see stet
). A loan-translation of Gk. hypostasis.
Sense of "the matter of a study, discourse, etc." first recorded late 14c. Meaning "any kind of corporeal matter" also is first attested late 14c.