from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One that takes the place of another; a replacement: "Fantasies are more than substitutes for unpleasant reality” ( Barbara Grizzuti Harrison).
  • n. Grammar A word or construction used in place of another word, phrase, or clause.
  • transitive v. To put or use (a person or thing) in place of another: "substituting moral power for physical force” ( Elizabeth Cady Stanton).
  • transitive v. Chemistry To replace (one or more elements or radicals in a compound) by other elements or radicals.
  • intransitive v. To take the place of another: "Only art can substitute for nature” ( Leonard Bernstein).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To use in place of something else, with the same function.
  • v. In the phrase "substitute X for Y", to use X in place of Y.
  • v. In the phrase "substitute X with/by Y", to use Y in place of X.
  • v. To remove (a player) from the field of play and bring on another in his place.
  • v. To serve as a replacement (for someone or something)
  • n. A replacement or stand-in for something that achieves a similar result or purpose.
  • n. A player who is available to replace another if the need arises, and who may or may not actually do so.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who, or that which, is substituted or put in the place of another; one who acts for another; that which stands in lieu of something else.
  • transitive v. To put in the place of another person or thing; to exchange.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To put in the place of another; put in exchange.
  • To appoint; invest with delegated authority.
  • Put in the place or performing the functions of another; substituted.
  • n. A person put in the place of another; one acting for or in the room of another; theatrical, an understudy; specifically (military), one who for a consideration serves in an army or navy in the place of a conscript; also, a thing serving the purpose of another.
  • n. In calico-printing, a solution of phosphate of soda and phosphate of lime with a little glue or other form of gelatin, used as a substitute for cow-dung.
  • n. Synonyms Proxy, alternate.
  • In chem., to replace (an atom or group) in the molecule of a compound by another atom or group. See substituent.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. capable of substituting in any of several positions on a team
  • adj. serving or used in place of another
  • n. a person or thing that takes or can take the place of another
  • n. someone who takes the place of another (as when things get dangerous or difficult)
  • v. put in the place of another; switch seemingly equivalent items
  • adj. artificial and inferior
  • v. act as a substitute
  • v. be a substitute
  • n. an athlete who plays only when a starter on the team is replaced


Middle English, from Old French substitut, from Latin substitūtus, past participle of substituere, to substitute : sub-, in place of; see sub- + statuere, to cause to stand; see stā- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin substitutum, past participle of substituo. (Wiktionary)


  • It may be admitted at once that when the term substitute is interpreted without reference to this basis of fact it lends itself very easily to misconstruction.

    The Atonement and the Modern Mind

  • He would feel the want of you without having the satisfaction of fancying himself ill-used, and ---- for your substitute is altogether as good a Nemesis as one would wish to hear of.

    Selections from the Letters of Geraldine Endsor Jewsbury to Jane Welsh Carlyle

  • On what we call substitute a reputation for decent treatment of minority shareholders so that firms can raise equity finance in the future.

    BNET Articles

  • Sandra González, a high-school English teacher, said the cuts, which will eliminate most long-term substitute teachers while raising the number of hours teachers must spend in the classroom weekly to 20 from 18, have brought her to the breaking point.

    Spain Approves Tax on Its Wealthiest

  • Of course, should the elected individual become incapable of fulfilling their Term for any reason, a temporary substitute is assigned per the procedures adopted by the people.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Why Recalls of U.S. Senators Are Unconstitutional

  • Many years ago, while teaching middle school Language Arts as a long-term substitute in a school located in a Brooklyn neighborhood in which many John Jay school students live, I stumbled upon a trick -- a quick, one-question diagnostic test for Language Arts proficiency: a Math problem.

    Michele Somerville: Fast One at 'Apartheid High'

  • The lazy substitute is to hire an arbitrary number of members of fashionable “underrepresented” groups, without being too particular about qualifications, then stop.

    Stromata Blog:

  • Over the last 25 years, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has developed the region's — and one of the nation's — most comprehensive programs to address the critical issues of child abuse, neglect and placement in substitute care.

    Safe Place: The Center for Child Protection and Health

  • Safe Place has a strong commitment to advancing the medical community's understanding of child abuse, its consequences, prevention, and the impact on children in substitute care.

    Safe Place: The Center for Child Protection and Health

  • We provide: evaluation of children who are suspected victims of maltreatment comprehensive healthcare assessment and delivery to children in substitute care

    Safe Place: The Center for Child Protection and Health


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  • Thank you Pro.

    February 16, 2011

  • Ha!
    By the way, here's bilby's link.

    February 15, 2011

  • Bilby's link doesn't seem to be working. Instead I offer you meaning 5 from the Century Dictionary:

    "In calico-printing, a solution of phosphate of soda and phosphate of lime with a little glue or other form of gelatin, used as a substitute for cow-dung."

    February 15, 2011

  • *Seedless*

    June 28, 2008

  • I...


    June 28, 2008

  • Hmmm.

    June 28, 2008