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

essentially \ i-​ˈsench-​lē How to pronounce essentially (audio) , -​ˈsen(t)-​shə-​ \ adverb
essentialness \ i-​ˈsen(t)-​shəl-​nəs How to pronounce essentialness (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

How to Wear 20 Slides A denim jacket is a wardrobe essential, regardless of season. Glamour, "How to Wear a Denim Jacket This Spring," 2 Apr. 2019 Snoozing in Space As NASA, SpaceX and other groups plan for voyages to the moon and Mars, researchers are working to figure out the secret of an essential for life on any planet: a good night’s sleep. Allure, "The 15 Best Face Washes for Oily Skin," 19 Mar. 2019 Our relationship is essential, doubled by a very real friendship and affection. Jessica Iredale, Town & Country, "Virginie Viard, Karl Lagerfeld's Secret Weapon, Succeeds Him at Chanel," 19 Feb. 2019 Meanwhile, new collections of stories dedicated to a room or essential element of a home will offer stories from not only Handbook, but also the rest of Curbed’s offerings, such as shopping roundups and longform features. Jenny Xie, Curbed, "Welcome to the new Curbed Handbook," 23 July 2018 Forget about jury duty State courts were shuttered last year as only cases that were deemed essential continued during the shutdown. Max Cohen, Philly.com, "Worried about a potential New Jersey government shutdown? Here are eight ways you would be affected," 26 June 2018 The show's loss of its most essential elements makes the foursome's magic stand out even more in the early season PBS is airing this summer. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "Enjoy the delight of 'The Great British Baking Show' while you still can," 22 June 2018 Something that checks our boxes without reading like a grocery list, because directors Scanlon and Vince Marcello modernized the right aspects while still maintaining rom-coms’ essential elements. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "The Rom-Com Renaissance Is Here Thanks To Netflix," 22 June 2018 This is an essential element in the incentive plan and can be designed to lead to an ownership transfer to key employees. Tom Cooney And Crystal Faulkner, Cincinnati.com, "Steps to ensure successful business ownership transfer to key employee," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Here, Tran decodes her look, from the easygoing essentials that get her work-ready to her favorite flea markets across the globe. Vogue, "An L.A. Jewelry Designer Decodes Her Easygoing Executive Style," 9 Apr. 2019 In order to figure out the essentials of the first-aid kit and which ones are worth paying for, Popular Mechanics spoke with Col. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "The 7 Best First Aid Kits For Any Situation," 26 July 2018 Since the launch of a pilot program in 2017, some high-school seniors in Helena with low ACT scores in math can now take an introductory college-level math class that reviews high-school concepts and incorporates essentials skills. Lisa Ward, WSJ, "The Benefits of Starting College Early—in High School," 10 Feb. 2019 Watch the video above for some killer hair tips and shop Yepez's essentials. Audrey Noble, Harper's BAZAAR, "Go Inside Hairstylist Jennifer Yepez' Beauty Stash," 21 Dec. 2018 In any case, more options are opening up for shoppers who want the convenience of groceries and essentials delivered to their homes on the same day. Dami Lee, The Verge, "Target’s Shipt same-day delivery service will expand to take on Amazon and Walmart," 18 Dec. 2018 With present ideas, gift wrapping essentials, classic decorations, and very merry kitchenwares—all in her signature rustic-chic style—your house and family will undoubtedly be the hit of the holiday party. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Joanna Gaines Just Dropped the Cutest Christmas Collection for Pets at Target," 4 Dec. 2018 For example, the sink is actually tucked around the corner to keep messy dishes out of sight; a large pantry holds essentials behind closed doors. Samantha Weiss Hills, Curbed, "Embracing nature—and minimalism—in North Carolina," 26 Nov. 2018 In January 2017, Walmart began offering two-day shipping for online purchases over $35 on millions of frequently purchased items like household essentials. Anne D'innocenzio, The Seattle Times, "Target offers two-day shipping with no minimums for holiday," 24 Oct. 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

18 Apr 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 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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Comments on essential

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