substance

substance 1 Substance, purport, gist, burden, core, pith can denote the inner significance or central meaning of something written or said.
Substance implies the essence of what has been said or written devoid of details and elaborations; the term is used especially when such an essence is repeated for the sake of others, but it may be used also of what characterizes a discourse and gives it body as distinguished from the frills or rhetorical froth that give it finish
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give the substance of a speech

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the substance of a scientific paper is incorporated into the general stock of knowledge; but the paper itself is doomed to oblivion— Huxley

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to strip her lines of all ornament, of all effective appeal, in order to contemplate better the substance of her poem— Fitts

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Purport lays the stress upon purpose or intent but when used of written or spoken discourse it applies to what is intended to be conveyed or imparted and so actually refers to the central meaning. It is often interchangeable with substance but always with the implication of the speaker's or writer's purpose
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the . . . purport of his letter was to inform them that Mr. Wickham had resolved on quitting the militia— Austen

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he has received just sufficient education to make him understand half the purport of the orders he receives— Kipling

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Gist refers to the material part (as of a question, an argument, or a discourse); it is the substance thereof reduced to its lowest terms
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the gist of the thing grows, at each stage of the progress, terser, more pungent, more crystal clear— Montague

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within an hour the Voice of America had begun translating the gist of the decision into thirty-four languages— Beverly Smith

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Burden implies the part most insisted upon or most often repeated and usually means the main topic or theme
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the burden of his conversation was that there was no escape "of no kind whatever"— Kipling

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that desire to hear lost laughter which, is the burden of every century's lament— Repplier

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Core can apply to various things that give the effect of being whatever remains after the outer or superficial part is stripped off; in application to what is written or said it emphasizes the centrality of the meaning and the relative unimportance of the other aspects
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the true center of the book is its core of irony, insight into the contrast between illusion and reality in the story of the WestKohler

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when we have cut away all his errors, exaggerations, prejudices and nonsense, we shall find a hard core of truth— Day Lewis

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Pith often equals substance in the sense of body; actually, however, it implies substance which gives a discourse its concentrated force, vigor, or vitality and is, therefore, a narrower and more expressive term
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there is pith in this essay

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such counsels, rather than the systematic doctrine . . . contain the pith of what he has to say— J. M. Cameron

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Analogous words: *center, nucleus, heart, core, focus: *principle, fundamental: foundation, *base, groundwork
2 *matter, material, stuff

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

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  • SUBSTANCE — Une idée reçue particulièrement tenace occupe le devant de la scène philosophique depuis l’époque du positivisme d’Auguste Comte, c’est à dire depuis plus d’un siècle: l’idée selon laquelle la métaphysique serait morte avec Kant, à la fin du… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Substance — • A genus supremum, cannot strictly be defined by an analysis into genus and specific difference; yet a survey of the universe at large will enable us to form without difficulty an accurate idea of substance Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight.… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • substance — Substance. s. f. Terme de Philosophie, Estre qui subsiste par luy mesme, à la difference de l accident qui ne subsiste qu estant adherant à un sujet. Substance spirituelle. substance corporelle. dans le mystere de l Eucharistie la substance du… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Substance P — Structure et représentation tridimensionnelle de la Substance P …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Substance — Sub stance, n. [F., fr. L. substantia, fr. substare to be under or present, to stand firm; sub under + stare to stand. See {Stand}.] 1. That which underlies all outward manifestations; substratum; the permanent subject or cause of phenomena,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • substance — sub·stance n 1: substantive law was a question of substance and not process compare procedure 2: something (as language) essential esp. to establishing a valid right, claim, or charge a t …   Law dictionary

  • substance — ► NOUN 1) a particular kind of matter with uniform properties. 2) the real physical matter of which a person or thing consists. 3) solid basis in reality or fact: the claim has no substance. 4) the quality of being important, valid, or… …   English terms dictionary

  • substance — [n1] entity, element actuality, animal, being, body, bulk, concreteness, core, corpus, fabric, force, hunk, individual, item, mass, material, matter, object, person, phenomenon, reality, something, staple, stuff, texture, thing; concepts… …   New thesaurus

  • substance — [sub′stəns] n. [OFr < L substantia < substare, to be present < sub , under + stare, to STAND] 1. the real or essential part or element of anything; essence, reality, or basic matter 2. a) the physical matter of which a thing consists;… …   English World dictionary

  • Substance — Sub stance, v. t. To furnish or endow with substance; to supply property to; to make rich. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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