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Essence; the material or necessary component of something.

A matter of substance, as distinguished from a matter of form, with respect to pleadings, affidavits, indictments, and other legal instruments, entails the essential sufficiency, validity, or merits of the instrument, as opposed to its method or style.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

SUBSTANCE, evidence. That which is essential; it is used in opposition to form.
     2. It is a general rule, that on any issue it is sufficient to prove the substance of the issue. For example, in a case where the defendant pleaded payment of the principal sum and all interest due, and it appeared in evidence that a gross sum was paid, not amounting to the full interest, but accepted by the plaintiff as full payment, the proof was held to be sufficient. 2 Str. 690; 1 Phil. Ev. 161.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
The black substance observed on the surfaces of the copper components was identified by x-ray diffraction.
Those range from Kristin Dunst's rendition of Irving Berlin's "They Say It's Wonderful" during her Broadway performance, and her standard jazz number at the jazz cafe where she works as a waitress, to James Franco and Dunst's sudden swing dance breakout in the kitchen, not to mention Maguire's sleazy John Travolta imitation as the black substance takes possession of him.
A gritty black substance, like large-grained sand, but evoking charcoal dust by its glitter, covered the entire stage floor.
But no one knew what the black substance on the car was until SpilTech employees arrived.
"The officers found a black substance that looked like a narcotic skillfully stuffed in the lining of the bags," he said.
That is, until some members of the team begin acting strangely, vomiting up a smelly, black substance, and showing an unusual tendency to bite people.
A closer inspection revealed the bag contained other smaller transparent packages containing a black substance weighing 345 grams, believed to be cannabis.
They were covered in a thick black substance that looked like crude oil, but no oil slick has yet been found.
And adding to Peter's woes, a black substance from a crashed meteorite fuses with his Spider-Man suit, unleashing the dark, vengeful side of his own personality.
Adding to Peter's woes, a black substance from a crashed meteorite fuses with his Spider-Man suit, turning the spandex black and unleashing the dark, vengeful side of his personality.