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See also: Substrate



Anglicization of substratum.


  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: sub‧strate
  • IPA(key): /ˈsʌbstɹeɪt/
  • (file)


substrate (plural substrates)

  1. An underlying layer; a substratum.
  2. The substance lining the bottom edge of an enclosure.
    The substrate of an aquarium can affect the water's acidity.
    Stream substrate affects fish longevity.
  3. (biochemistry) A substance acted upon, as by an enzyme.
  4. (biology) A surface on which an organism grows, or to which an organism or an item is attached.
    The rock surface of a rockpool is the substrate for a sessile organism such as a limpet.
    • 2000, Mike Hansell, Bird Nests and Construction Behaviour, →ISBN, page 90:
      This definition [of "tool"] is not simple, but contains several elements. The tool must not be part of the animal's body (a beak is not a tool); the user must manipulate the tool in some way for it to realise its function; and, finally, a tool cannot be attached to the substrate. This is a fairly clear definition, but does seem to produce some rather arbitrary distinctions (Hansell 1987b). The spider Dinopis, for example, makes a small web which it holds in its legs, thrusting it down on passing ants. This is a tool, but all other webs, however complex, are not since they are anchored to the substrate. The woodpecker finch [] that uses a fine stick held in the beak to extract insect prey from wood, is a tool user, but a shrike [] that impales an insect on a thorn still attached to the bush is not.
    • 2006, Edward A. Wasserman, Thomas R. Zentall, Comparative Cognition: Experimental Explorations of Animal Intelligence, →ISBN, page 520:
      Detach/subtract [tasks involve] Severing a fixed attachment between environmental objects (or the substrate) or removing object(s) from another unattached object, so the latter is a more useful tool.
  5. (linguistics) A language that is replaced in a population by another language and that influences the language imposed on its speakers.
    Antonym: superstrate
  6. (plating) A metal which is plated with another metal which has different physical properties.
  7. (construction) A surface to which a substance adheres.


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Derived terms[edit]



substrate (third-person singular simple present substrates, present participle substrating, simple past and past participle substrated)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To strew or lay under.
    • 1663, Robert Boyle, “(please specify the page)”, in Some Considerations Touching the Vsefulnesse of Experimental Naturall Philosophy, [], Oxford, Oxfordshire: [] Hen[ry] Hall printer to the University, for Ric[hard] Davis, →OCLC, part I:
      The melted glass being supported by the substrated sand.


substrate (comparative more substrate, superlative most substrate)

  1. Having very slight furrows.