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

This move is an acknowledgment of the importance of space in military operations but is in essence a kind of rewiring of existing command arrangements. CBS News, "Trump marks establishment of U.S. Space Command – live stream," 29 Aug. 2019 The texture was on the thick side but still smooth and the flavor familiar yet pleasantly accented by that distinct boiled peanut essence. Lindsey Mcclave, The Courier-Journal, "40 craft beers and a vegetarian-friendly menu make Crescent Hill Craft House stand out," 28 Aug. 2019 My robust nighttime routine is complete with a cleansing balm, toner, essence, ampoule, and countless sheet masks straight from Seoul. Allure, "The Best Korean Makeup That Every K-Beauty Fan Needs to Try," 22 Aug. 2019 To be able to carry her essence and energy through the run of this film was challenging. Los Angeles Times, "Niecy Nash on her role in ‘When They See Us': ‘Her pain was palpable’," 21 Aug. 2019 Iconic living rooms, bedrooms, and even coffee shops can become crucial to a show’s storyline and overall essence. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The best decor to shop from your favorite TV shows," 13 Aug. 2019 Puryear’s best work is reductive, striving to reach an essence. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "The American Pavilion in the Venice Biennale: Safe and Sorry," 10 Aug. 2019 Desserts, too — like the Flan al estilo traditional de mama Marisa con espuma de crema Catalana ($10) feature those citrus notes, employing actual oranges and the essence thereof in the Catalan cream foam. Amy Drew Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "Disney Springs: Celebrity chef José Andrés has a heavenly hit in Jaleo," 1 Aug. 2019 Further, the selection on the Flipkart platform expanded as a result of the famous K-10 regime of oil cleansers, foam cleansers, toners, essence, serums, eye, and face cream, among others. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Flipkart says Indians are adding Korean beauty products to their carts like never before," 25 July 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

2 Sep 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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