Top 34 Slang For Substitute – Meaning & Usage

When it comes to finding the perfect substitute slang words, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re looking to spice up your vocabulary or simply stay in the loop with the latest trends, our team has gathered a list of the most popular and trendy substitute slangs that will take your conversations to the next level. Say goodbye to boring old words and hello to a whole new world of linguistic creativity with our curated list!

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1. Stand-in

A stand-in is someone who takes the place of another person temporarily, typically in a performance or work setting. They assume the role or duties of the original person for a specific period of time.

  • For example, in a movie production, a stand-in might be used to help set up a scene before the actual actor arrives.
  • In a theater production, an actor might have a stand-in for rehearsals or when they are unable to perform.
  • A teacher might have a stand-in substitute when they are absent from school.

2. Fill-in

A fill-in is someone who temporarily takes over the responsibilities or role of another person. They step in when the original person is unavailable or unable to fulfill their duties.

  • For instance, a fill-in host might be used for a TV show when the regular host is on vacation.
  • In a sports team, a fill-in player might be brought in to replace an injured teammate.
  • A colleague might be asked to fill-in for a coworker who is on leave.

3. Backup

A backup is a person or thing that serves as a substitute or alternative option in case the original person or thing is unavailable or fails to perform.

  • For example, a backup singer is someone who supports the main singer or takes over if they are unable to perform.
  • In technology, a backup copy of data is created to ensure it can be restored in case of loss or damage.
  • A team might have a backup plan in case their original strategy doesn’t work.

4. Pinch-hitter

A pinch-hitter is a substitute player who is brought in to bat for someone else in baseball. The term has been adopted more broadly to refer to any last-minute or emergency replacement.

  • In baseball, a pinch-hitter might be used when the scheduled batter is unable to bat, often in a crucial situation.
  • In a work setting, a pinch-hitter might be someone who steps in at the last minute to handle a task or fill a role.
  • A friend might ask another friend to be their pinch-hitter on a blind date if they can’t make it.

5. Proxy

A proxy is someone or something that acts as a substitute or representative for another person or entity. They have the authority to act on behalf of the original person or entity.

  • For instance, a proxy vote is when someone votes on behalf of another person who is unable to attend a meeting or election.
  • In computer networks, a proxy server acts as an intermediary between a user and the internet, handling requests on their behalf.
  • A proxy can also refer to a person who represents someone else, such as a lawyer or spokesperson.

6. Alternate

This term refers to someone or something that can be used as a substitute or replacement when the original option is unavailable or not suitable. It implies a secondary choice that can be used if the primary option fails.

  • For example, “If the main actor is sick, we’ll need an alternate to take their place.”
  • In a sports context, a coach might say, “We have a strong alternate player who can step in if needed.”
  • A person discussing job opportunities might say, “I have an alternate career path in case my current one doesn’t work out.”

7. Surrogate

This term refers to a person or thing that is used as a substitute for another. It implies temporarily filling a role or taking the place of someone or something else.

  • For instance, “She acted as a surrogate mother for her sister who couldn’t have children.”
  • In a medical context, a surrogate might be used to refer to a person who donates their blood or organs to someone in need.
  • A person discussing politics might say, “The vice president often acts as a surrogate for the president when they are unable to attend events.”

8. Replacement

This term is a shortened version of “substitute” and refers to someone or something that takes the place of another. It implies a direct replacement that serves the same purpose or function as the original.

  • For example, “He was brought in as a replacement for the injured player.”
  • In a work setting, a manager might say, “We need to find a replacement for the employee who is leaving.”
  • A person discussing technology might say, “The new model is a replacement for the previous version and offers improved features.”

9. Understudy

This term refers to an actor who learns the lines and actions of a specific role in a play or performance, but is not the primary performer. The understudy is prepared to step in if the main actor is unable to perform.

  • For instance, “The understudy had to take over the lead role when the main actor fell ill.”
  • In a theater production, a director might say, “We have a talented understudy who is ready to take on any role.”
  • A person discussing career opportunities might say, “I started as an understudy and worked my way up to the lead role.”

10. Second-string

This term is often used in sports and refers to players who are not part of the starting lineup or are not considered the first choice for a specific position. It implies being a secondary option or substitute player.

  • For example, “He’s the second-string quarterback and only plays if the starter is injured.”
  • In a discussion about music, a person might say, “The band’s second-string guitarist is just as talented as the lead.”
  • A coach might say, “We have a strong second-string lineup that can step in and perform at a high level.”

11. Deputy

A deputy refers to someone who is appointed to assist or act as a substitute for another person, typically in an official or professional capacity. It is often used to describe someone who is next in line or provides support when the primary person is unavailable.

  • For example, in a police force, a deputy might be the second-in-command or a backup officer.
  • In a workplace, a deputy manager might step in to oversee operations when the manager is absent.
  • During a meeting, someone might say, “If the chairperson is unable to attend, the deputy will preside over the session.”

12. Relief

Relief is a term used to describe a substitute or stand-in for someone who is temporarily absent or unable to perform their duties. It refers to the act of relieving or taking over for another person, often to ensure continuity or maintain productivity.

  • For instance, in a nursing shift, a relief nurse might come in to cover for a colleague during a break.
  • In a sports team, a relief pitcher might replace the starting pitcher during a game.
  • If a teacher is sick, a relief teacher may be called in to teach the class for the day.
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13. Reserve

Reserve refers to a person who is kept in reserve or available as a substitute when needed. It implies being on standby or ready to step in if the primary person is unable to fulfill their role.

  • For example, in the military, reserve troops are trained and ready to be called upon in times of need.
  • In a sports team, a reserve player may be on the bench, ready to replace an injured or tired teammate.
  • A company may have a reserve employee list to call upon for temporary staffing needs.

14. Sub

Sub is a shortened form of the word “substitute” and is commonly used to refer to a person who fills in for someone else temporarily. It is often used in casual or informal contexts.

  • For instance, in a school setting, a substitute teacher is often referred to as a “sub.”
  • In a sports game, a player who is replaced by a substitute is said to be “subbed out.”
  • A coworker might say, “I can’t make it to the meeting, can you be my sub?”

15. Temp

Temp is a shortened form of the word “temporary” and is used to describe someone who is filling in temporarily for another person. It is often used in work or employment contexts to refer to someone who is hired for a short duration or specific project.

  • For example, a temporary employee might be brought in to cover for a regular employee on leave.
  • In a company, a temp worker may be hired to assist during a busy season or for a specific task.
  • A manager might say, “We need a temp to help with data entry for the next two weeks.”

16. Backup plan

A backup plan refers to a secondary plan or course of action that can be used if the original plan fails or is not successful.

  • For example, “I always have a backup plan in case things don’t go as expected.”
  • During a project meeting, someone might suggest, “Let’s come up with a backup plan in case we encounter any obstacles.”
  • A person discussing career choices might say, “Having a backup plan is important in case your first choice doesn’t work out.”

17. Plan B

Plan B is another way to refer to a backup plan or an alternative option. It is often used when the original plan is not feasible or does not produce the desired outcome.

  • For instance, “If this doesn’t work out, we’ll have to go with plan B.”
  • A person discussing relationship advice might say, “Always have a plan B in case things don’t work out with your current partner.”
  • During a job interview, a candidate might mention, “I have a plan B in case I don’t get this position.”

18. Cover

Using “cover” as slang for substitute means using something or someone as a stand-in for another person or thing.

  • For example, “Can you cover for me while I’m on vacation?”
  • In a band, a member might say, “We need a cover for our guitarist who can’t make it to the show.”
  • A person discussing a work project might say, “I’ll cover for my colleague who is out sick.”

19. Spare

Using “spare” as slang for substitute means having something extra or additional that can be used as a replacement.

  • For instance, “Do you have a spare pen I can borrow?”
  • A person discussing car maintenance might say, “Always keep a spare tire in your trunk.”
  • During a camping trip, someone might ask, “Does anyone have a spare flashlight?”

20. Alternative

An alternative refers to a choice or option that can be used instead of the original or default choice.

  • For example, “If you don’t like coffee, there are plenty of alternative beverages to choose from.”
  • A person discussing dieting might say, “Instead of sugar, try using alternative sweeteners.”
  • During a meeting, someone might suggest, “Let’s explore alternative solutions to this problem.”

21. Second string

This term refers to a person or group of people who are ready to replace the main players in a team or organization if necessary. It implies that the second string is not as skilled or talented as the first string, but they are still capable of filling in when needed.

  • For example, in a sports context, a coach might say, “We have a strong second string that can step up if any of our starters get injured.”
  • In a work setting, someone might comment, “I’m on the second string for this project, so I’ll be ready to take over if needed.”
  • A musician might say, “I’ve been practicing hard to move up from the second string to the first string in the orchestra.”

22. Second fiddle

This phrase is used to describe someone who is in a subordinate or less important position compared to someone else. It originates from the world of music, where the second violinist plays a supporting role to the first violinist.

  • For instance, in a business context, someone might say, “I’m tired of playing second fiddle to my colleague. I deserve more recognition.”
  • In a family setting, a sibling might complain, “I always feel like I’m playing second fiddle to my older brother.”
  • A musician might say, “I don’t mind playing second fiddle in this band. I enjoy being part of the rhythm section.”

23. Double

This term is used to refer to a person who replaces another person temporarily, often in the entertainment industry. The double is typically similar in appearance or skill to the person they are substituting for.

  • For example, in a movie production, a stunt double might be used for dangerous or physically demanding scenes.
  • In a theater production, an actor might have an understudy who can step in if they are unable to perform.
  • In a live event, such as a concert, a backup dancer might serve as a double for the main artist.
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24. Locum

This term is commonly used in the medical field to refer to a temporary replacement for a doctor or healthcare professional. A locum typically fills in for a specific period of time, such as during a vacation or maternity leave.

  • For instance, a hospital might hire a locum to cover shifts in the emergency department while a resident doctor is on vacation.
  • A doctor might say, “I’ll be away for a month, but we have a locum coming in to cover my patients.”
  • A nurse might comment, “We’re short-staffed, so we’re bringing in a locum to help with the workload.”

25. Surrogate mother

This term refers to a woman who carries a pregnancy for another person or couple. A surrogate mother becomes pregnant through in vitro fertilization (IVF) using the intended parents’ embryos.

  • For example, a couple struggling with infertility might choose a surrogate mother to carry their child.
  • A surrogate mother might say, “I’m honored to be helping another family experience the joy of parenthood.”
  • In a discussion about reproductive options, someone might mention, “Surrogate mothers provide an alternative for couples who cannot carry a pregnancy themselves.”

26. Alternate route

This term refers to an alternative path or way to reach a destination when the usual route is blocked or unavailable. It can also be used metaphorically to describe an alternative method or approach to solving a problem.

  • For example, “I took an alternate route to avoid the traffic jam.”
  • In a discussion about problem-solving strategies, someone might suggest, “Let’s try an alternate route and see if we get better results.”
  • A person might say, “Instead of taking the main road, I prefer to take the alternate route through the scenic countryside.”

27. Proxy server

A proxy server acts as an intermediary between a client device and a destination server. It allows clients to make indirect network connections to other servers, providing various benefits such as improved performance, privacy, and security.

  • For instance, “I’m using a proxy server to access websites that are blocked in my country.”
  • In a discussion about online privacy, someone might mention, “Using a proxy server can help conceal your IP address and protect your identity.”
  • A person might say, “I set up a proxy server at home to access my files remotely while I’m traveling.”

28. Fill-in the blank

This phrase is often used in educational or quiz settings where a sentence or statement is partially provided, and the person is required to provide the missing information.

  • For example, a teacher might say, “Please fill in the blank with the correct answer.”
  • In a conversation about a puzzle or riddle, someone might ask, “Can you fill in the blank to solve the riddle?”
  • A person might say, “I struggled to fill in the blank because I didn’t have enough information.”

29. Replacement part

A replacement part refers to a component or piece that is used to replace a damaged or malfunctioning part in a larger system or object. It is often used in the context of repairs or maintenance.

  • For instance, “I ordered a replacement part for my car’s broken tail light.”
  • In a discussion about DIY repairs, someone might mention, “Always make sure to use the correct replacement part to ensure proper functionality.”
  • A person might say, “The replacement part arrived just in time, and now my computer is working perfectly again.”

30. Second choice

This term refers to an alternative or secondary option that is considered when the first choice or preferred option is not available or feasible.

  • For example, “My first choice for dinner was fully booked, so we went with our second choice.”
  • In a discussion about job applications, someone might mention, “It’s always a good idea to have a second choice in case your first choice doesn’t work out.”
  • A person might say, “I’m confident in my second choice for a college major, even though it wasn’t my initial preference.”

31. Backup dancer

A backup dancer is a performer who dances alongside or behind the main artist or group. They provide additional visual and choreographic support to the main act.

  • For example, “During the concert, the backup dancers added energy and flair to the performance.”
  • In a music video, a viewer might comment, “The backup dancers really elevated the overall production value.”
  • A fan might say, “I love watching the backup dancers’ synchronized moves during live shows.”

32. Alternate ending

An alternate ending refers to a different conclusion or resolution to a story or movie. It is an alternative version of how the plot could have unfolded.

  • For instance, “The director included an alternate ending on the DVD release of the film.”
  • In a discussion about a TV show, someone might say, “I wish they had filmed an alternate ending to satisfy different fan theories.”
  • A viewer might comment on a movie review site, “The alternate ending completely changed my perspective on the characters.”

33. Standby

Being on standby means being ready to take over or step in when needed. It implies being prepared to substitute or replace someone or something.

  • For example, “The backup quarterback was always on standby in case the starting quarterback got injured.”
  • In a work setting, a colleague might say, “I’ll be on standby in case you need any assistance with the presentation.”
  • A teacher might ask a student, “Could you please be on standby to answer questions if your classmates need help?”

34. Switch

To switch means to change roles or positions, often as a substitute for someone or something else.

  • For instance, “Can you switch with me and take my shift tomorrow?”
  • In a conversation about parenting, someone might say, “I’ll switch with my partner and take care of the kids tonight.”
  • A coworker might ask, “Could we switch tasks for the day? I need a break from my usual responsibilities.”