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 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 Since then, Ford has produced more than 18 million face shields, at a rate of about one every second to help essential workers and health care professionals during the pandemic. Fox News, "Ford Motor Co. donates thousands of COVID-19 face shields to US military," 26 May 2020 Governor Baker has closed child care centers for everyone but essential workers until the end of June and the state is still developing guidelines on how to open them back up. Donald Moore, Bloomberg.com, "State Reopening Plans Collide With Shuttered Child-Care Centers," 24 May 2020 A day later, Stimpson announced a curfew with fines for non-essential workers caught out at night. al, "Two Alabama cities, two very different outbreaks," 24 May 2020 Closing contest: Local students have another chance to honor an essential worker of their choice. cleveland, "David Fortier Park becomes a walking storybook: Olmsted Dates and Data," 23 May 2020 This year, a focus was first responders and essential workers who are at high-risk of contagion during the coronavirus pandemic. Staff, The Christian Science Monitor, "On #143Day, Pennsylvania shows kindness cannot be locked down," 23 May 2020 Niklas Halle’N/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images On Thursday nights, Britons bang pots and pans and let out hearty cheers of support for doctors and nurses who care for coronavirus patients and for other essential workers amid the pandemic. Derrick Bryson Taylor, New York Times, "Is It Time to Stop Clapping for Health Care Workers? An Organizer Thinks So," 23 May 2020 At first, Gonzales was considered an essential worker. Crystal Hill, The Indianapolis Star, "As Indiana moves to reopen, hardest hit communities fear they'll be left behind," 22 May 2020 With strict lockdown rules still in place and public transport off the table for non-essential workers, bikes have become both a source of exercise and the only real means of getting around. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "How We'll Travel This Summer," 22 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The robots have the capacity to deliver medicine, food, and other essentials in place of frontline workers to Covid-19 patients undergoing treatment, Ngamije said. Aisha Salaudeen, CNN, "Rwanda has enlisted anti-epidemic robots in its fight against coronavirus," 25 May 2020 According to Nielsen, a market-research company, sales in France of flour surged by 160% year-over-year in March, ranking it among emergency essentials such as rice (160%), pasta (200%) and soap (220%). The Economist, "Daily chart Home baking is on the rise, thanks to coronavirus lockdowns," 8 Apr. 2020 As large swathes of citizens cannot afford to stock up on food for long periods, low-income households typically buy food and essentials in small bits, thus creating some demand for small-scale traders. Quartz Africa, "Across Africa, a reliance on the informal sector threatens effective coronavirus lockdowns," 4 Apr. 2020 An exception to this new normal are trips for essentials, such as groceries. Claudia Harmata, PEOPLE.com, "Should You Be Wiping Down Your Groceries When You Get Home from the Store? Experts are Divided," 1 Apr. 2020 Community health workers can also deliver test kits, transport samples to labs, distribute educational materials as well as medicine, food, and other essentials to those who need them. Eric D. Perakslis, STAT, "Create a cadre of community health workers to fight Covid-19 in the U.S.," 31 Mar. 2020 American consumers have benefited as essentials such as kitchenware and more complex goods like TVs and computers have gotten cheaper. Tom Simonite, Wired, "How Decades of Offshoring Led to a Mask Shortage in a Pandemic," 29 Mar. 2020 Business has been brisk as shoppers pile cleaning supplies, toilet paper, food, and other essentials into their carts. Jacob Bogage, BostonGlobe.com, "Walmart issuing cash bonuses to hourly workers, hiring another 150,000 employees," 20 Mar. 2020 In general, around 50 dinars a day, or $35, is budgeted per detainee for food and other essentials for all centers, according to two Libyan officials, two owners of food catering companies and an international aid worker. Maggie Michael, Washington Post, "European money spawns more misery for migrants in Libya," 31 Dec. 2019

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

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Essential.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/essential. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for essential

essential

adjective
How to pronounce essential (audio)

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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