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

  • n. An underlying layer.
  • n. A layer of earth beneath the surface soil; subsoil.
  • n. A foundation or groundwork.
  • n. The material on which another material is coated or fabricated.
  • n. Philosophy The characterless substance that supports attributes of reality.
  • n. Biology A substrate.
  • n. Linguistics A substrate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A layer that lies underneath another
  • n. The underlying cause or basis of something

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. That which is laid or spread under; that which underlies something, as a layer of earth lying under another; specifically (Agric.), the subsoil.
  • n. The permanent subject of qualities or cause of phenomena; substance.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. That which is laid or spread under; a stratum lying under another; in agriculture, the subsoil; hence, anything which underlies or supports: as, a substratum of truth.
  • n. In metaphysics, substance, or matter, as that in which qualities inhere.

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

  • n. a surface on which an organism grows or is attached
  • n. an indigenous language that contributes features to the language of an invading people who impose their language on the indigenous population
  • n. any stratum or layer lying underneath another


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

New Latin substrātum, from neuter of Latin substrātus, past participle of substernere, to lay under : sub-, sub- + sternere, to stretch, spread.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin sub, under + stratum, layer


  • Is it not sufficiently expressed in the term substratum, or substance?

    The First Dialogue

  • If we take away the useful labour expended upon them, a material substratum is always left, which is furnished by Nature without the help of man.

    A Bland and Deadly Courtesy

  • The word substratum is used only to express in general the same thing with substance.

    The First Dialogue

  • If so, the word substratum should import that it is spread under the sensible qualities or accidents?

    The First Dialogue

  • The substratum is the cause of a thing's being or existence; the process of shaping or forming is the cause of its being a particular kind of being or existent, that is, of its having one set of qualities rather than another.

    Concepts of God

  • Third, is that idea of substance as a bare substratum, which is “a supposed, I know not what, to support those ideas we call accidents.” (xxiii 15).


  • For if the change is ‘alteration’, then the substratum is a single element; i.e. all things which admit of change into one another have a single matter.

    On the Generation and Corruption

  • Nor does matter belong to those things which exist by nature but are not substances; their substratum is the substance.


  • (A) ultimate substratum, which is no longer predicated of anything else, and (B) that which, being a ‘this’, is also separable and of this nature is the shape or form of each thing.


  • If the movements imparted by the semen are resolved and the material contributed by the mother is not controlled by them, at last there remains the most general substratum, that is to say the animal.

    On the Generation of Animals


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