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

Money, money, money Money is the bane of a candidate’s existence, but also essential for getting out one’s message. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "Elaine DiMasi learns hard lessons about money and leadership in politics," 5 July 2018 The Novichok nerve agents cause harm by crippling the action of cholinesterase, an enzyme involved in the normal and essential breakdown of some neurotransmitters. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Second Novichok poisoning in Britain raises alarm, questions over contamination," 5 July 2018 Her ample body of work casts feelings as not just worthy of study but essential for understanding our political selves. Jennifer Szalai, New York Times, "When It Comes to Politics, Be Afraid. But Not Too Afraid.," 4 July 2018 Masterful, and terrifying — and essential that it be seen on the big screen. Chris Kaltenbach, baltimoresun.com, "July 4th and more: the best of Baltimore's arts and entertainment scene this week," 1 July 2018 Last week, Iran banned the import of 1,400 foreign non-essential and luxury goods to reduce the amount of foreign currency leaving the country. Nick Wadhams, BostonGlobe.com, "US pressing allies to end Iran oil imports by Nov. 4, official says," 26 June 2018 Being able to not only read, but also to read well has never been more essential. The Aegis, "Read on, Harford [Editorial]," 20 June 2018 Wills is both essential to the plot and nonessential to the drama. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "The Bachelorette Season 14, Episode 4 Recap: Two Rose Ceremonies, One Clown," 19 June 2018 But rope is still an essential tool for survival, whether it’s for stringing food away from bears, drying clothes, or binding a pesky scavenger. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "16 Tools You Need When You Live Off the Grid," 3 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And the text, of course, is one of the essentials of Jewish theology. Harry Bruinius, The Christian Science Monitor, "In Plains, Ga., an evangelical politician like no other," 11 July 2018 Others in very small towns were much plainer and limited to the basic essentials of camera, backdrop and some kind of seat for the subject. Arthur Hart, idahostatesman, "In search of Idaho customers, some photographers took their darkrooms on the road | Idaho Statesman," 23 Mar. 2018 NYC’s second release in the same closet as its first, which included more work-appropriate essentials like a blazer and slacks. Emilia Petrarca, The Cut, "You Can Wear These Luxury Bike Shorts Pretty Much Anywhere," 10 July 2018 The patio has its own menu, with essentials like brats and hot dogs but also items like a memorable pork sausage made with makrut lime and chile and topped with mango relish. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Dining patios proliferate around Milwaukee; a look at some new ones for 2018," 10 July 2018 Dollar General will offer area residents a convenient new place to shop for everyday essentials at low prices. Community Report, Houston Chronicle, "Dollar General now open in Tarkington," 5 July 2018 With khakis and Chelsea boots for a film-set-to-country-side look. Mr P. $190, mrporter.com Brought to you by Mr P., the house line of e-commerce website Mr Porter, built around everyday essentials like chambray shirts. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "The Chambray Shirt: Why Every Man Needs This All-American Staple," 3 July 2018 Adding to the neighborhood vibe are essentials like the convenience store in the Partners HealthCare building, and the primary care and dentist offices that will operate out of the ground floor of the Montaje apartments. Janelle Nanos, BostonGlobe.com, "A visit to Assembly Row 2.0," 9 June 2018 Considering quality suitcases are generally expensive, Zappos makes shopping for these vacation essentials easier and more affordable. Banu Ibrahim, CNN Underscored, "This shoe retailer has stellar luggage to shop right now," 21 May 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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Learn More about essential

Phrases Related to essential

bare essentials

Statistics for essential

Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

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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