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a (person) of substance

Someone who has a lot of power, money, or influence. I think my parents were disappointed that I chose not to marry a woman of substance, but they seem to have gotten over it. Despite being a humble shop owner, his interactions with every person of the community has made him a person of substance in the eyes of the people here.
See also: of, substance

catch not at the shadow and lose the substance

A warning against accepting something false, deceitful, shallow, or insubstantial in place of something true, meaningful, or valuable. In today's modern, materialistic world, you must catch not at the shadow and lose the substance.
See also: and, catch, lose, not, shadow, substance

controlled substance

A drug whose availability is limited by law. A: "I thought you could just find your medication on the shelf at the pharmacy." B: "Nah, I'm on a new one, and it's a controlled substance, so I have a prescription for it." I'm really glad I didn't follow in my brother's footsteps and become addicted to controlled substances.
See also: control, substance

form and substance

The structure and content of something, such as a creative work. I found her short story fascinating in form and substance.
See also: and, form, substance

in substance

1. Concerning or related to the essential elements; fundamentally or substantially. In substance, the proposed bill would reduce the amount of calories in meals served at school cafeterias, though the details of how this would be implemented aren't yet clear.
2. Actually; in reality. I was promoted to a managerial role in the restaurant, but in substance, I'm just a shift supervisor.
See also: substance

take the shadow for the substance

dated To accept something false, deceitful, shallow, or insubstantial in place of something true, meaningful, or valuable. (Said especially in religious lectures or sermons about shunning or being led away from faith or the dictates of the church.) In today's modern, materialistic world, it is all too easy to take the shadow for the substance.
See also: for, shadow, substance, take

the sum and substance

The central or most important idea, aspect, or part of something; the essence or summary of something. We don't have much time for this board meeting, so let's just get to the sum and substance straight away. The sum and substance of her argument is that a redistribution of wealth would spur the economy into huge gains.
See also: and, substance, sum
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

form and substance

structure and meaningful content. The first act of the play was one screaming match after another. It lacked form and substance throughout. Jane's report was good. The teacher commented on the excellent form and substance of the paper.
See also: and, form, substance

sum and substance

a summary; the gist. Can you quickly tell me the sum and substance of your proposal? In trying to explain the sum and substance of the essay, Thomas failed to mention the middle name of the hero.
See also: and, substance, sum
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

in substance

1. In reality, essentially, as in The Archbishop of Salzburg was in substance a temporal authority as well. [Late 1300s]
2. In essence, basically, as in I don't remember all the details, but in substance this was the plan. [Late 1400s]
See also: substance

sum and substance

The essence or gist of something, as in The sum and substance of their platform is financial conservatism. This redundant expression-both sum and substance here mean "essence"-has probably survived owing to alliteration. Shakespeare used it in The Two Gentlemen of Verona (4:1): "My riches are these poor habiliments [clothes], Of which if you should here disfurnish me, You take the sum and substance that I have."
See also: and, substance, sum
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

a woman, man, person, etc. of ˈsubstance

(formal) a person who is important, powerful or rich: In those days, a station master was a man of substance in the community.
See also: of, substance
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

sum and substance

The total essence of a matter. The sum in this cliché is not really necessary—substance covers the meaning quite well—but the appealing alliteration is probably what helped it survive. Shakespeare used it in Two Gentlemen of Verona (4.1), “My riches are these poor habiliments Of which, if you should disfurnish me, you take the sum and substance that I have.”
See also: and, substance, sum
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
If you know someone who is abusing addictive substances and want to help, don't be afraid to talk to them.
The new directive adds 12 substances to the current list of 33 priority substances and updates several EQSs for existing priority substances - taking into account the latest scientific and technical data on the potential risks of said substances.
The researchers did not find as strong a link between victims of bullying and substance use.
This paper seeks to fill a gap in the current literature by examining Locke's doctrine of substance, Brentano's view of the part-whole relation, Spinoza's discussion of substance and mode, and Descartes's thesis that substance and attribute are not distinct entities.
Alternatively, it has been found that adolescents and young adults can reduce or end their use of substances after incurring a TBI.
The substance restrictions apply every time an article is supplied (including components, subassemblies and finished equipment), and enforcement action can be taken at any point in the supply chain.
This set of amendments has addressed which of the substances on Schedule 1 require environmental emergency plans.
Of the total patients seeking rehabilitation therapy for substance abuse in Oman, 99 per cent are males and under 30 years.
It was discovered that some risk factors were associated with initiation of all the substances assessed, whereas others were substance-specific.
Speaking during a graduation ceremony held at Cresta Lodge Hotel on Thursday, Minister of Health and Wellness, Ms Dorcas Makgato said psychoactive substances continue to be a threat to the stability, security and health wellness of the country.
Cultural aspects of the social environment have an effect on the use of alcohol and other substances. University students who show late adolescence characteristics experience some biological, psychological, social, and economic problems.