To use in place of something else, with the same function.
In the phrase "substitute X for Y", to use X in place of Y. With increasing frequency used in the semantically opposite sense (see
- I had no shallots so I substituted onion.
the OED's notes).
In the phrase "substitute X with/by Y", to use Y in place of X; to replace X with Y
- I had to substitute new parts for the old ones.
(sports) To remove (a player) from the field of play and bring on another in his place.
- I had to substitute old parts with the new ones. (This usage was formerly proscribed.)
- He was playing poorly and was substituted after twenty minutes
, date=April 11
, author=Phil McNulty
, title=Liverpool 3 - 0 Man City
, work=BBC Sport
, passage=Mario Balotelli replaced Tevez but his contribution was so negligible that he suffered the indignity of being substituted
himself as time ran out, a development that encapsulated a wretched 90 minutes for City and boss Roberto Mancini. }}
To serve as a replacement (for someone or something)
* 1987 , , Essays in Economics, Vol. 2 , p. 75
- Accumulation of wealth by this route may substitute for personal saving.
The verb "to substitute" can be used transitively in two opposite ways. "To substitute X" may mean either "use X in place of something else" (as in definitions 1 and 2), or "use something else in place of X" (as in definitions 3 and 4). The latter use is more recent, but it is widespread and now generally accepted (see
the COED's note on the matter). However, if the indirect object (the "something else") is omitted, the preposition is also omitted, and the reader or hearer cannot tell which sense is meant:
* "Substitute butter for olive oil" = Use butter instead of olive oil
* "Substitute olive oil for butter" = Use olive oil instead of butter
* "Substitute butter" = ???
* "Substitute olive oil" = ???
A replacement or stand-in for something that achieves a similar result or purpose.
* De Quincey
(sports) A player who is available to replace another if the need arises, and who may or may not actually do so.
- Ladies [in Shakespeare's age] wore masks as the sole substitute known to our ancestors for the modern parasol.
, date=November 3
, author=David Ornstein
, title=Macc Tel-Aviv 1 - 2 Stoke
, work=BBC Sport
, passage=Dean Whitehead opened the scoring shortly after the break with a low finish and substitute
Peter Crouch sealed the win with a tap-in.}}
(historical) One who enlists for military service in the place of a conscript.
* See also
To restore to a former place, position, condition, or the like.
- When you've finished using the telephone, please replace the handset.
To refund; to repay; to restore; as, to replace a sum of money borrowed.
- The earl...was replaced in his government. — .
To supply or substitute an equivalent for.
- You can take what you need from the petty cash, but you must replace it tomorrow morning.
- I replaced my car with a newer model.
- The batteries were dead so I replaced them
To take the place of; to supply the want of; to fulfill the end or office of.
- Next Wednesday, four women and 15 men on the Crown Nominations Commission will gather for two days of prayer and horsetrading to replace Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury.
- This security pass replaces the one you were given earlier.
To demolish a building and build an updated form of that building in its place.
(rare) To place again.
(rare) To put in a new or different place.
- This duty of right intention does not replace or supersede the duty of consideration. — .
The propriety of the use of "replace" instead of "displace", "supersede", or "take the place of", as in the fourth definition, has been disputed on account of etymological discrepancy, but is standard English and universally accepted.