in·​te·​gral | \ˈin-ti-grəl(usu so in mathematics); in-ˈte-grəl also -ˈtē- also nonstandard ˈin-trə-gəl \

Definition of integral 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : essential to completeness : constituent an integral part of the curriculum

b(1) : being, containing, or relating to one or more mathematical integers

(2) : relating to or concerned with mathematical integration or the results of mathematical integration

c : formed as a unit with another part a seat with integral headrest

2 : composed of constituent parts

3 : lacking nothing essential : entire


in·​te·​gral | \ˈin-ti-grəl(usu so in mathematics); in-ˈte-grəl also -ˈtē- also nonstandard ˈin-trə-gəl\

Definition of integral (Entry 2 of 2)

: the result of a mathematical integration — compare definite integral, indefinite integral

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Other Words from integral


integrality \ ˌin-​tə-​ˈgra-​lə-​tē \ noun
integrally \ ˈin-​ti-​grə-​lē ; in-​ˈte-​grə-​ also  -​ˈtē-​ \ adverb

Examples of integral in a Sentence


I do know that shoot-'em-ups (and saw-'em-ups) are likely to remain part of our lives, and that suggests a depressing idea: Maybe the love of violence is an integral part of human nature … — Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly, 12 Oct. 2007 Stuffed with peanut butter, celery is the quintessential after-school snack; diced, it provides an essential crunch to chicken and potato salads; buttered up, it is an integral part of Thanksgiving stuffing. — Sara Dickerman, New York Times Magazine, 3 Sept. 2006 Sitting out on the grass … watching the freight trains roll by on the levee at two in the morning, drinking a beer and listening to the music drifting out of the club, is an integral part of the whole experience. — Tom Piazza, Why New Orleans Matters, 2005 She had become an integral part of their lives. a car dealer respected for his integral honesty and straightforwardness with customers


The main tools used in the study of these functions are those we have already discussed: representation as integrals, power-series expansions, and differential equations. — Robert S. Strichartz, The Way of Analysis, 2000

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

And the implications for the United States are so integral to all of this. Fox News, "US ambassador to UK reacts to Trump's NATO comments," 12 July 2018 Being able to handle logistics, Drake said, has been integral for the business to prosper. Anchorage Daily News, "Constructing success with the Drake family," 25 June 2018 Thompson, who played his 100th playoff game without ever having missed one, was integral to Golden State’s 122-103 win that gave them a 2-0 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Usa Today Sports, USA TODAY, "Steph Curry sets Finals three-point record as Warriors take 2-0 lead," 3 June 2018 The media was integral, but also acknowledged for its limitations. Mark Swed,, "Music goes multimedia, but why? Three concerts point the way," 25 Apr. 2018 For the past 20 years, George has made extraordinary contributions to Akamai and has been integral to the company’s success. Jon Chesto,, "Poll may help Commonwealth Institute’s chief get more women in the C-suites," 2 Apr. 2018 That was integral a key second step, boosted by modern technology. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Panel earns state praise for uncovering history in 19th-century cemetery filled with New Berlin pioneers," 26 Mar. 2018 The 30-strong American team, which was integral to the planning, recommended that each child be confined in a flexible plastic cocoon, called a Sked, which is marketed as a rescue stretcher and is a standard part of the Air Force team’s gear. Hannah Beech, Richard C. Paddock And Muktita Suhartono, New York Times, "‘Still Can’t Believe It Worked’: The Story of the Thailand Cave Rescue," 12 July 2018 Schnatter's meteoric rise, launched from the closet of his father's failing Jeffersonville bar in 1984, is integral to the Papa John's story. David Harten, The Courier-Journal, "John Schnatter resigns as chairman of Papa John's after using N-word," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'integral.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of integral


1551, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1741, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for integral


see integer


see integer

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Statistics for integral

Last Updated

31 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for integral

The first known use of integral was in 1551

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More Definitions for integral



English Language Learners Definition of integral

: very important and necessary


in·​te·​gral | \ˈin-ti-grəl \

Kids Definition of integral

: very important and necessary : needed to make something complete an integral part

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Comments on integral

What made you want to look up integral? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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