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Insubstantial   Listen
adjective
Insubstantial  adj.  Unsubstantial; not real or strong. "Insubstantial pageant." (R.)






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Insubstantial" Quotes from Famous Books



... movements of the head and eyebrows, with murmured ejaculations to similar effect. But, as touching myself and my obscure problems (of which such an Olympian as Arncliffe could, naturally, have no conception), it was all somewhat insubstantial and remote; rather of the stuff of which dreams are compounded. And so, watching my opportunity, I presently ventured a tentative inquiry as to the direction in which I might hope to justify the terms of Mr. Arncliffe's letter, and be ...
— The Record of Nicholas Freydon - An Autobiography • A. J. (Alec John) Dawson

... he was the same man who, only a few months ago, had paced the same streets, weighed down by misery and despair; indeed, as he thought of all that had happened, the events took to themselves the character of a phantasmagoria in which Mr. Bloxford, the circus people and Donna Elvira moved like insubstantial shadows. But, standing out clearly in his mind, was the fact that he was in London, with his pockets full of money and with one desire, one hope predominating over all others, the desire, the hope of seeing the girl at ...
— The Woman's Way • Charles Garvice

... shadowy Oceanides, Jove's warders of the island trees, The tufted pillars tall and stout, And all the bosky camp about, Maintain our lives in sounding shades Of old aeolian colonnades; But post about the neighbor land In woof of insubstantial wear: Our ways are on the water sand, Our joy is in the desert air. The very best of our delights Are by the moon of summer nights. Darkness to us is holiday: When winds and waves are up at play, When, on the thunder-beaten shore, The swinging breakers split ...
— The International Monthly Magazine, Volume 5, No. 1, January, 1852 • Various

... no place remains for active toils, Penance for acts perverse. Inactive sloth Through passive suffering meets its due. On earth That sloth a nothing seemed; a nothing now That chasm whose hollow bars thee from the Blest, Poor slender film of insubstantial air. Self-help is here denied thee; for that cause A twofold term thou need'st of pain love-taught To expiate Love that lacked." That term complete An angel caught him o'er that severing gulf:— Thenceforth he saw his God.' With such discourse Progress, though slow ...
— Legends of the Saxon Saints • Aubrey de Vere

... have come to me from far and near, and all fresh from the hearts and hands of children, and from men and women who have not forgotten how to be children, you would not wonder at the dream. And such a dream can do no harm. Insubstantial though it may be, I would not at this hour exchange it for all the fame won by my mightier brethren of the pen—whom ...
— Uncle Remus • Joel Chandler Harris

... alike in that insupportable beauty and tenderness. On the last of these, the last of September, Jane was sitting in a place by herself under her tree. She could not say how or at what moment the incredible thing happened, but of a sudden the world she looked at became luminous and insubstantial and divinely still. She could not tell whether the stillness of the world had passed into her heart, or her heart into the stillness of the world. She could not tell what had happened to her at all. She only knew that after it had ...
— The Creators - A Comedy • May Sinclair

... of her. He seemed to see her laughing silently at him from a distant upper corner of the room, and for the moment secured a glimpse into a new and amazing world—the world of darkness and silence wherein matter was fluid, imponderable, an insubstantial world peopled, nevertheless, ...
— The Tyranny of the Dark • Hamlin Garland

... I foretold you, were all spirits, and Are melted into air, thin air: And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not ...
— Daisy's Necklace - And What Came of It • Thomas Bailey Aldrich

... should be said here that John Quarles was not the chief original of that lovely character in The Gilded Age. That was another relative—James Lampton, a cousin—quite as lovable, and a builder of even more insubstantial dreams. ...
— Mark Twain, A Biography, 1835-1910, Complete - The Personal And Literary Life Of Samuel Langhorne Clemens • Albert Bigelow Paine

... been bridged over. Theosophy has undertaken to bridge that gap. But, examined more carefully, one sees that the abyss has been crossed by nothing more solid than a fabric of cloudy speculation. True enough these speculations are ingenious and touched with suggestive light, but they are strangely insubstantial. After all they do absolutely nothing more than our Western affirmation of the immanence of God in life and force and law, and our Western thought has the advantage alike in simplicity, in ...
— Modern Religious Cults and Movements • Gaius Glenn Atkins

... they all silently contemplated the two worlds. To the west and north lay an endless spread of mountains, wave on wave, snow-lined, savage, sullen in the dying light; while to the east and southeast the foot-hills faded into the plain, whose dim cities, insubstantial as flecks in a veil of violet mist, were hardly distinguishable without ...
— The Forester's Daughter - A Romance of the Bear-Tooth Range • Hamlin Garland

... height of the latter exceeds its French rival. At Strasburg the excess of elaboration in the ornament is detrimental to the effect of height, and the same may be said of Antwerp or Mechlin, where the whole effect is not so much that of a spire, as of an elaborately fretted finial, insubstantial if exquisite in itself, but merely an added ornament, not appearing part of ...
— Bell's Cathedrals: The Cathedral Church of Salisbury - A Description of its Fabric and a Brief History of the See of Sarum • Gleeson White

... and the hours of that day stood out ever afterward in Kent's life as unforgettable memories. There were times when they seemed illusory and unreal, as though he lived and breathed in an insubstantial world made up of gossamer things which must be the fabric of dream. These were moments when the black shadow of the tragedy from which they were fleeing pressed upon him, when the thought came to him that they ...
— The Valley of Silent Men • James Oliver Curwood

... actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits, and Are melted into air, into thin air: And, like the baseless fabrick of this vision, The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve; And, like this insubstantial pageant, faded, Leave not a rack behind."—Tempest, Act ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 73, March 22, 1851 • Various

... retrospect of this strenuous attack on the law with a declaration that, henceforth, he intends to forsake the pursuit of that 'foolscap' literary fame, and the company of the 'infamous' nine Muses; a decision based partly on the insubstantial nature of the rewards achieved, and partly it would seem due to the fact that at Fielding's innocent door had been laid, he declares, half the anonymous scurrility, indecency, treason, and blasphemy that ...
— Henry Fielding: A Memoir • G. M. Godden

... them in the drawing-room. Dr. Charles. Miss Louisa Wright, stiff fragility. A child's face blurred and delicately weathered; features in innocent, low relief. Pale hair rolled into an insubstantial puff above each ear. Speedwell eyes, fading milkily. Hurt eyes, disappointed eyes. ...
— Mary Olivier: A Life • May Sinclair

... no one on earth but Iris Wayne, yet that insubstantial grey shadow which seemed to speak was only another ghost, a figment of his overwrought brain. He wished—how he wished—that these ghosts would leave him, would return to the haunted place whence they came and allow him to sink once more into the ...
— Afterwards • Kathlyn Rhodes

... in no immediate or aggressive manner any imputable private heritage or privilege of arrogance. He would on the contrary have irradiated fineness if his lustre hadn't been a little prematurely dimmed. Active yet insubstantial, he was slight and short and a trifle too punctually, though not yet quite lamentably, bald. Delicacy was in the arch of his eyebrow, the finish of his facial line, the economy of "treatment" by which his negative nose had been enabled to look important and his meagre mouth to ...
— The Outcry • Henry James

... and to-morrow After life's fitful fever they sleep well And like this insubstantial bourne from which No traveller returns Leave not ...
— The Doctor's Dilemma • George Bernard Shaw

... all spirits, and Are melted into air, into thin air; And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with ...
— Abraham Lincoln • John Drinkwater

... sense, Madam, to be imposed upon by my arguments, if they are insubstantial. You do know that I have had my terrors for Mr. Conway; but at present they are out of the question, from the insignificance of his island. DO not listen to rumours, nor believe a single one till it has been canvassed over and over. Fear, folly, fifty Motives, ...
— Letters of Horace Walpole, V4 • Horace Walpole

... that is directed by a mind, condemned, in a world like this, to prove its noble origin, by panting after unattainable perfection; ever pursuing what it acknowledges to be a fleeting dream. An imagination of this vigorous cast can give existence to insubstantial forms, and stability to the shadowy reveries which the mind naturally falls into when realities are found vapid. It can then depict love with celestial charms, and dote on the grand ideal object; it can imagine a degree of mutual affection that shall refine the soul, and ...
— A Vindication of the Rights of Woman - Title: Vindication of the Rights of Women • Mary Wollstonecraft [Godwin]

... no sign that I had heard him. But Dinky-Dunk would never have spoken to me that way, three short years ago. And I imagine he knows it. For, after all, a change has been taking place, insubstantial and unseen and subterranean, a settling of the foundations of life which comes not only to a building as it grows older but also to the heart as it grows older. And I'm worried about ...
— The Prairie Mother • Arthur Stringer

... thunder, "all shall go. And loike the baseless fabric o' a vision, the cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples, the great globe itself—Yea, I say, all which it inherit shall dissolve, and, like this insubstantial payjent faded, ...
— The Matador of the Five Towns and Other Stories • Arnold Bennett

... is a very representative instance of those "insubstantial fictions for the illustration of moral truths, not always of much moment." The suggestion of this tale we find in a quotation from Sir Thomas Browne in "The American Note Books" for 1837: "A story there passeth of an Indian King that sent unto Alexander a fair woman ...
— Four Americans - Roosevelt, Hawthorne, Emerson, Whitman • Henry A. Beers

... perform." The play, I must confess, does not seem to me, as it seems to certain French critics, "une piece qui tient du chef-d'oeuvre ... la tragedie des maitres antiques et de Shakespeare." To me it is rather an insubstantial kind of ingenuity, ingenuity turning in a circle. As a tragic episode, the dramatisation of a striking incident, it has force and simplicity, the admirable quality of directness. Occasionally the people are too eager to express the last shade of the author's meaning, as in the conversation between ...
— Plays, Acting and Music - A Book Of Theory • Arthur Symons

... like the once neatly-trimmed mansion which I was now visiting. A magpie was perched upon a huge stack of chimneys, his black and white plumage rivalling the mottled edifice at his feet. Perhaps he was the wraith, the departing vision of the decaying fabric; an apparition, insubstantial as the honours and dignities of the ancient ...
— Traditions of Lancashire, Volume 1 (of 2) • John Roby

... number, and robbed of all their vividness. The chiaro-oscuro will have gone from life; the moral landscape, whose beauty and grandeur is at present so much extolled, will have dissolved like an insubstantial pageant. Vice and virtue will be set before us in the same grey light; every deeper feeling either of joy or sorrow, of desire or of repulsion, will lose its vigour, and cease any more to ...
— Is Life Worth Living? • William Hurrell Mallock

... numberless white villas. At his right loomed the gaunt mass of the Gnisi, with its black forests, its bare crags, its foaming ascade, and the crenelated range of the Cornobastone; and finally, climax and cynosure, at the valley's end, Monte Sfiorito, its three snow-covered summits almost insubstantial-seeming, floating forms of luminous pink vapour, in the evening sunshine, against the ...
— The Cardinal's Snuff-Box • Henry Harland

... isn't it?' he observed to Shawn, when Simon handed him the insubstantial and gay object and restored the gold token. They were at a window in the circular room; the couch ...
— Hugo - A Fantasia on Modern Themes • Arnold Bennett



Words linked to "Insubstantial" :   solidness, stringy, shadowy, immaterial, jejune, ethereal, substantialness, insubstantiality, wraithlike, substantiality



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