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
The book's illustrations capture the essence of the story.
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
In essence, the positivists were the first sociologists, rejecting both superstition and metaphysics and studying behavior as a natural phenomenon that could be perfected. —Stephan Talty, Mulatto America, 2003
I had come to Orange Cove on a statewide tour, looking for the essence of Latino life in a changing California and a good bowl of the Mexican stew … —Joe Rodriguez, San Jose Mercury News, 20 May 2003
: 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 oilb: 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