essential

adjective
es·​sen·​tial | \ i-ˈsen(t)-shəl \

Definition of essential

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or constituting essence : inherent
2a : of the utmost importance : basic, indispensable, necessary an essential requirement for admission to college
b : being a substance that is not synthesized by the body in a quantity sufficient for normal health and growth and that must be obtained from the diet a vegetable oil rich in essential fatty acids — see also essential amino acid — compare nonessential sense 2
3 : idiopathic essential disease essential hypertension

essential

noun

Definition of essential (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something basic the essentials of astronomy
2 : something necessary, indispensable, or unavoidable

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Other Words from essential

Adjective

essentially \ i-​ˈsench-​lē , -​ˈsen(t)-​shə-​ \ adverb
essentialness \ i-​ˈsen(t)-​shəl-​nəs \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for essential

Adjective

essential, fundamental, vital, cardinal mean so important as to be indispensable. essential implies belonging to the very nature of a thing and therefore being incapable of removal without destroying the thing itself or its character. conflict is essential in drama fundamental applies to something that is a foundation without which an entire system or complex whole would collapse. fundamental principles of algebra vital suggests something that is necessary to a thing's continued existence or operation. cut off from vital supplies cardinal suggests something on which an outcome turns or depends. a cardinal rule in buying a home

Examples of essential in a Sentence

Adjective

As a fighter pilot, he knows that good vision is essential. Free speech is an essential right of citizenship. The essential problem with this plan is that it will cost too much. There's no essential difference between the two products.

Noun

the essentials for success include a willingness to work and the right attitude this will be just an introduction to the essentials of computer programming
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Friday will highlight a constituency that will be essential to her prospects and other contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020: black women. Joshua Jamerson, WSJ, "Black Women Voters Emerge as Top Target in 2020 Democratic Race," 24 Jan. 2019 At a time when women are constantly on the go, a classic tote is an essential in our wardrobes. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "Ditch the Commuter Tote in Favor of These Chic, Functional Work Bags," 3 Feb. 2019 While decent sample sizes are essential in research that compares two groups on some measure (for instance, how well a drug works), the same problems don’t pop up in quite the same way in work like this. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Some clues about why male Guinea baboons fondle each other’s genitals," 18 Nov. 2018 And that first phone has proven essential in building the case. Vinny Vella, Philly.com, "Threats, rage: Court filings reveal lovers' spat leading to Bucks slaying," 11 July 2018 Telehealth, using technology to consult a doctor virtually, could also become an increasingly essential tool. Barbara Brody, Glamour, "The Ob-Gyn Shortage Is Real—And It Might Impact Your Care," 14 Nov. 2018 To up any luxurious yet efficient morning routine, there's Chanel's plush makeup brush set, tucked in a neat red leather case that offers six essential tools for everyday. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "11 Beauty Gifts for Mom That Guarantee Favorite Child Status," 9 Nov. 2018 My mental health journey hasn’t been easy, but the relief that came with finding a black therapist was essential. Vanessa Willhoughby, Allure, "The Reality of Navigating the Mental Health System as a Black Woman," 13 Oct. 2018 For many, firearms exist solely as essential tools for culturally significant activities, like hunting. Prince Shakur, Teen Vogue, "The Gun Show Loophole, Explained," 26 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The basic warm-weather wardrobe essentials should be at the top of your list—and, naturally, a transformative new swimsuit will be the foundation of your off-duty uniform. Maria Ward, Vogue, "The Hot List: 15 Looks You Need for Your Next Beach Vacation," 13 Dec. 2018 Hostels responded accordingly—even using IKEA themselves; Lowy picked up most of the prints, tabletop and other essentials for his hostel at the Marketplace. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Hostels Became Poshtels: The Remaking of a Backpacker's Hangout," 12 Sep. 2018 On top of the essentials listed above, Oprea stocked her new at-home gym with specialty items that, though they aren’t required to get in a great workout, can add diversity to your routine. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Build a Budget-Friendly at-Home Gym With These Tips From Celebrity Trainer Erin Oprea," 18 Nov. 2018 Perks like access to a bike for sight-seeing, a bottle of wine, or even a beach bag full of sun essentials were appreciated. Monique Valeris, ELLE Decor, "Airbnb Plus Reveals the Amenities Travelers Really Care About," 28 Aug. 2018 The military would have to be deployed to ensure transportation of essentials. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Did Trump Just Help Stop Brexit?," 13 July 2018 Breadth meaning, Prime Day deals will include everything from electronics and toys to everyday essentials and back to school supplies. Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, "Are Amazon Prime Day sales a steal? We asked 4 pricing firms to find out," 10 July 2018 All of the essentials would be loaded on a truck and delivered to the site where community volunteers would build their park — barn-raising style. Drew Harris, Philly.com, "Let's promote health and green space one empty lot at a time," 29 June 2018 Instacart users can add goods to their cart from Costco without a membership, permitting a whole new group of buyers to access its vast miscellany of groceries and everyday essentials, said spokeswoman Andrea Toch. Hanna Krueger, NOLA.com, "Instacart launching in New Orleans, will deliver your groceries from Rouses, Costco," 8 Mar. 2018

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

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for essential

Last Updated

21 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for essential

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

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More Definitions for essential

essential

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of essential

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: extremely important and necessary
: very basic

essential

noun

English Language Learners Definition of essential (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is basic or necessary : something essential

essential

adjective
es·​sen·​tial | \ i-ˈsen-shəl \

Kids Definition of essential

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : extremely important or necessary It is essential that we all meet here.
2 : forming or belonging to the basic part of something Free speech is an essential right of citizenship.

Other Words from essential

essentially adverb

essential

noun

Kids Definition of essential (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is basic or necessary I packed the bare essentials for the trip.

essential

adjective
es·​sen·​tial | \ i-ˈsen-chəl \

Medical Definition of essential

1 : being, relating to, or containing an essence an essential odor
2 : being a substance that is not synthesized by the body in a quantity sufficient for normal health and growth and that must be obtained from the diet The body converts linoleic acid—an essential fatty acid that makes up 60 percent of corn oil—into arachidonic acid.— Janet Raloff, Science News, 24 June 1989 — see essential amino acid — compare nonessential
3 : having no obvious or known cause : idiopathic essential disease

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Comments on essential

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