essential

adjective
es·​sen·​tial | \ i-ˈsen(t)-shəl How to pronounce essential (audio) \

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

essentialness \ i-​ˈsen(t)-​shəl-​nəs How to pronounce essential (audio) \ 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 Good horticultural practices in tandem with good irrigation practices are essential for good water management. Richard Restuccia, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Garden Mastery: 6 steps to prep your irrigation system for the growing season," 8 May 2021 Nunan said these small details are essential for keeping young kids safe and happy throughout matches, especially since all four of the Pride children are too young to stay settled in their seats for an entire 90-minute match. Julia Poe, orlandosentinel.com, "Orlando Pride moms lead as parents, players with support from club," 8 May 2021 This form of collaboration is essential for work in a post-pandemic world. Shama Hyder, Forbes, "Collaboration Will Get You Further Than Competition In Entrepreneurship: A Case Study With Justice HQ," 7 May 2021 Dye said the reemployment of women who either left the workforce voluntarily or involuntarily during the past year will be essential for achieving a healthy economy. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "Mothers see signs of economic hope after a year of stress," 7 May 2021 When using stairs as a training tool, balance is essential for safety. Dana Santas, CNN, "Step up your strength and balance with this stair workout," 7 May 2021 Vaccinating children will facilitate in-person schooling, which is essential for short and long-term well-being. Rebecca Weintraub, ABC News, "How to prepare for the coming wave of COVID child vaccinations: OPINION," 6 May 2021 Though diapers are essential for babies, they are not systematically covered by safety-net policies. Jennifer Randles, Time, "Too Many Moms Can't Afford Diapers for Their Kids. On Mother's Day, We Must Remember Their Need," 6 May 2021 Nevertheless, securing buy-in from these potential rivals is essential for mankind’s future in space. Kevin O’connell & Alexander William Salter, National Review, "Great Power Competition in the Final Frontier: How to Keep the Peace in Space," 4 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Our reviewers also liked how easy to hold this kitchen essential was to hold with one hand and were stoked at its lifetime warranty. Nishka Dhawan, USA TODAY, "The 5 best Amazon deals you can get this Thursday," 12 Mar. 2021 That sounds easy enough, but only a great detective, like the fastidious Belgian (or Sherlock Holmes!), can disentangle the essential from the inessential. Washington Post, "Who is the greatest fictional detective? A new book reminds us why it’s Poirot.," 14 Apr. 2021 One last essential: a place for people to sit comfortably for long periods of time. Janice O'leary, Robb Report, "How to Design Your Backyard for Year-Round Entertaining, According to 3 Experts," 10 Apr. 2021 Perry Ellis has remained a casual essential of office workers, enhancing their daily style. Cassell Ferere, Forbes, "Perry Ellis Bets On The Rise Of Men's Athleisure With New Motion Collection," 16 Mar. 2021 However, the essential of the Games will remain unchanged, as athletes give their utmost and inspire the world with transcendent performances. Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone, "International Spectators Barred From Tokyo Olympics," 20 Mar. 2021 But to deploy a rescue force in advance of an attack requires an absolute essential: timely intelligence to provide early warning. Michael Peck, Forbes, "Attacks On U.S. Embassies That Have Taken Two Hours Or Less Have Been Too Fast For Rapid Response Teams, Study Finds," 24 Feb. 2021 This year has proven that no household essential is safe from shortages. Christie Calucchia, PEOPLE.com, "Paper Towels Are Selling Out Fast — Here Are 9 Options Still in Stock on Amazon," 14 Sep. 2020 That made Gebru’s perspective essential in a field that is predominantly White, Asian and male. Washington Post, "Google hired Timnit Gebru to be an outspoken critic of unethical AI. Then she was fired for it.," 23 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for essential

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for essential

Last Updated

12 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Essential.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/essential. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce essential (audio) \

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 How to pronounce essential (audio) \

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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