essence

noun
es·​sence | \ ˈe-sᵊn(t)s How to pronounce essence (audio) \

Definition of essence

1a : 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
2 : the most significant element, quality, or aspect of a thing or person the essence of the issue
3 : one that possesses or exhibits a quality in abundance as if in concentrated form she was the essence of punctuality
4a(1) : 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
(2) : a volatile substance or constituent (as of perfume)
b : odor, perfume
5 : something that exists : entity
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

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Examples of essence in a Sentence

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 The essence of love is unselfishness. The book's illustrations capture the essence of the story.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In essence, that’s what informs Suntory’s practice. Hannah Lott-schwartz, Fortune, "Inside Japan’s Oldest Whisky Distillery," 16 June 2019 In essence, Apple is adding an extra intermediary step, making sure the app doesn’t know your email and that third parties can’t combine data to get a picture of your activity across multiple apps. Russell Brandom, The Verge, "Apple’s new sign-in button is built for a post-Cambridge Analytica world," 8 June 2019 In essence, measles acts like an infection amplifier, turning up the volume of background disease. National Geographic, "Measles vaccines protect against more than just measles. Here's how.," 4 Mar. 2019 In essence, Qualcomm is promising that the integrated 5G Snapdragon will offer the same battery life as current LTE phones. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Qualcomm's next Snapdragon chip suggests 2020 really will be the year of 5G phones," 25 Feb. 2019 His quotidian objects, pared down to essences, take on devotional weight. Lance Esplund, WSJ, "‘Metaphysical Masterpieces 1916-1920: Morandi, Sironi, and Carrà’ Review: Every Object’s Mysteries," 16 Jan. 2019 In bridal wear, quality is of the essence, be it in the form of a rich brocade, a decadent velvet, a fine silk or in this case, a gossamer, glitter-flecked tulle. Christian Oth, Harper's BAZAAR, "17 Non-Traditional Gowns For the Renegade Bride," 1 Nov. 2018 In addition, Karademas is providing his own subsidy by allowing Altiro to be in the location rent-free for the first nine months, in essence another $36,000 subsidy. Steve Lord, Aurora Beacon-News, "City Council OKs incentive to bring restaurant to Aurora," 3 June 2019 As with so many other STIs, prompt detection and treatment are of the essence. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "We Need to Talk About Syphilis," 28 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'essence.' 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 essence

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for essence

Middle English essencia, from Latin essentia, from esse to be — more at is

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Statistics for essence

Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for essence

The first known use of essence was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for essence

essence

noun

English Language Learners Definition of essence

: 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

essence

noun
es·​sence | \ ˈe-sᵊns How to pronounce essence (audio) \

Kids Definition of essence

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

essence

noun
es·​sence | \ ˈes-ᵊn(t)s How to pronounce essence (audio) \

Medical Definition of essence

1 : 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)
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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essence

noun
es·​sence | \ ˈes-ᵊns How to pronounce essence (audio) \

Legal Definition of essence

1 : the real or ultimate nature of a thing : the properties that make a thing what it is his award is legitimate only so long as it draws its essence from the collective bargaining agreementUnited Steel Workers v. Enterprise Wheel and Car Corp., 363 U.S. 593 (1960) — see also essence test
2 : the predominant purpose of a thing the essence of the contract
of the essence
: of the utmost importance specifically : so material in nature that failure to satisfy its requirements constitutes a breach of contract time is of the essence

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Comments on essence

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