See also: Substrate



Anglicization of substratum.


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


substrate (plural substrates)

  1. (biochemistry) What an enzyme acts upon.
  2. (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.
  3. An underlying layer; a substratum.
  4. (linguistics) A language that is replaced in a population by another language and that influences the language imposed on its speakers.
    Antonym: superstrate
  5. (plating) A metal which is plated with another metal which has different physical properties.
  6. (construction) A surface to which a substance adheres.
  7. 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.




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, Considerations touching the Usefulness of Experimental Natural Philosophy
      The melted glass being supported by the substrated sand.


substrate (comparative more substrate, superlative most substrate)

  1. Having very slight furrows.

See alsoEdit