I am aware of the etymological fallacy and aware that the fallacy itself, also, does not always hold good. In other words, a word's pedigree may, or may not, be the reason it means what it means, today.
The OED tells me, in the small print, that, beyond the immediate Anglo Norman substans lies the Old French sustance and beyond that lies the Latin substare, literally sub-stare 'to stand' or to 'stand under'.
Interestingly, there is a concomitant word in Hellenistic Greek 'υποστασις, hupostasis which, literally, is as the Latin, and can be rendered 'under-upstanding'.
The Latin word substantia was adopted (Vulgate etc) to translate both 'υποστασις, hupostatis and also ουσια, ousia.
Now these two Greek words mean, respectively, immaterial presence and material presence. That is to say, the non-physical aspect and the physical aspect of that which is.
Thus the Latin word substantia - and then the English word 'substance' - came to have twin meanings, originally - it would seem - from the Greek.
'Substance' in the OED is defined as the 'nature' or the 'essence' of something.
My question is - has there been an etymological fault in the development of the word ? Is it actually wrong, conceptually, to use a word which means 'underneath that which stands' to convey both meanings of 'physical material' and 'non-physical being' ?
And has this caused confusion, historically, in the conveying of metaphysical concept ? That is to say, has the concept of 'physical material' been carried over into the understanding of that which is not 'physical material' ?
'Essence' or 'subsistence' conveys absolute being. 'Substance' conveys that which is substantive, that which is materially present.
Should they not have been kept separate ?
And is this word 'substance', therefore, an example of an etymological fallacy ?