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From un- +‎ substantial.


unsubstantial (comparative more unsubstantial, superlative most unsubstantial)

  1. (archaic) Insubstantial.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:insubstantial
    • 1749, [Tobias George Smollett], The Regicide: Or, James the First, of Scotland. A Tragedy. [], London: [] [F]or the benefit of the author, →OCLC, Act III, scene iv, page 37:
      What boots it, that my Fortune decks me thus / With unſubſtantial Plumes; when my Heart groans / Beneath the gay Capariſon, and Love / With unrequited Paſſion wounds my Soul!
    • 1751, [Tobias] Smollett, chapter 89, in The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle [], volume III, London: Harrison and Co., [], →OCLC:
      They are (said he) meer phantoms of ignorance and credulity, swelled up in the repetition, like those unsubstantial bubbles which the boys blow up in sopasuds with a tobacco pipe.
    • 1859, Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, London: Chapman and Hall, [], →OCLC:
      They shook hands upon it, and Sydney turned away. Within a minute afterward he was, to all outward appearance, as unsubstantial as ever.