Meaning of Substance

What is Substance:

It is known by the name of substance to all that matter whose properties and characteristics are stable and homogeneous. For example: "Water is a liquid substance."

The essence or the most important part of something is also called substance. For example: "The substance of the speech was in the end."

On the other hand, substance is also the set of characteristics of a thing, which are stable and do not vary: "The Catholic faith of today has lost its substance."

Substance also refers to the value, usefulness or significance of something: "Their contributions to public opinion are of little substance."

Likewise, we call the juice extracted from fruits or food a substance: "Get all the substance out of the lemon."

In the same way, the food quality of an edible is known as a substance: "The substance of the egg is in the yolk."

The word substance is also used to refer to the level of judgment or good sense that a person shows: "Andrés seemed like a boy without substance, a bad match for his daughter."

The word, as such, comes from Latin substantia, which is formed from the prefix sub- which means 'low' and the Latin verb stare, which means 'to be'. In the countries of the Southern Cone it maintains a more conservative spelling with respect to its original etymology: substance.

See also Matter.

Substance in philosophy

In philosophy, substance is called the foundation of reality. In fact, its very etymology suggests it: the word is formed from the prefix sub-, which means 'below', and the Latin verb stare, which translates ‘being’, in short: what is underneath, what underlies.

Aristotle, in the MetaphysicsHe wondered what substance was, that is, the being in itself of things, that which "is" without the need for something else to be, as Descartes would later say. And he considered that the opposite of the substance was the accident or the attribute. Thus, the substance is that which does not vary in being despite the changes resulting from accidents. In this sense, the notion of substance is also associated with the philosophical concept of essence.

See also:

  • Reality.
  • Essence.

Substance in chemistry

In chemistry, a matter is known as a substance when it is homogeneous, has a defined chemical composition, and has the same intensive properties at all points. Substances can be found in different states of matter: solid, liquid and gas.

See also States of matter.

A substance is said to be pure when it cannot be decomposed by physical procedures, although it can be decomposed through chemical procedures. Pure substances, in turn, are subdivided into two types.

  • Simple pure substance: it cannot be decomposed, as it is made up of only one element. For example: oxygen.
  • Compound pure substance: it can break down into more than one element. For example: water.
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