noun es·sence \ˈe-sən(t)s\

: the basic nature of a thing : the quality or qualities that make a thing what it is

: a substance that contains in very strong form the special qualities (such as the taste and smell) of the thing from which it is taken

Full Definition of ESSENCE

a :  the permanent as contrasted with the accidental element of being
b :  the individual, real, or ultimate nature of a thing especially as opposed to its existence <a painting that captures the essence of the land>
c :  the properties or attributes by means of which something can be placed in its proper class or identified as being what it is
:  something that exists :  entity
a (1) :  a volatile substance or constituent (as of perfume) (2) :  a constituent or derivative possessing the special qualities (as of a plant or drug) in concentrated form; also :  a preparation of such an essence or a synthetic substitute
b :  odor, perfume
:  one that possesses or exhibits a quality in abundance as if in concentrated form <she was the essence of punctuality>
:  the most significant element, quality, or aspect of a thing or person <the essence of the issue>
in essence
:  in or by its very nature :  essentially, basically <was in essence an honest person>
of the essence
:  of the utmost importance <time is of the essence>

Examples of ESSENCE

  1. The essence of love is unselfishness.
  2. The book's illustrations capture the essence of the story.
  3. The perennial debate about nature and nurture—which is the more potent shaper of the human essence?—is perennially rekindled. —Matt Ridley, Time, 2 June 2003

Origin of ESSENCE

Middle English essencia, from Latin essentia, from esse to be — more at is
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Fashion Terms

bodkin, chignon, cowlick, eau de toilette, imperial, pocket, pomander, tonsorial
ESSENCE Defined for Kids


noun es·sence \ˈe-səns\

Definition of ESSENCE for Kids

:  the basic part of something <Freedom is the essence of democracy.>
:  a substance made from a plant or drug and having its special qualities
:  1perfume 1
Medical Dictionary


noun es·sence \ˈes-ən(t)s\

Medical Definition of ESSENCE

:  a substance considered to possess in high degree the predominant qualities of a natural product (as a plant or drug) from which it is extracted (as by distillation or infusion)
a :  essential oil b :  an alcoholic solution especially of an essential oil <essence of peppermint> c :  an artificial preparation (as an alcoholic solution of one or more esters) used especially in flavoring d :  elixir


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