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

The researchers next measured the levels of various products of glucose metabolism and concluded that mannose inhibits key enzymes involved in essential metabolic pathways, all of which rely on glucose. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Sugar cures cancer! (Not really, but one sugar may help chemo)," 21 Nov. 2018 The two most essential items are a microfiber cloth and the little squeeze-ball puffer, for blowing dust off your lens or sensor. Brent Rose, The Verge, "How to build a camera kit for adventure photography," 20 Nov. 2018 Saudi Arabia continues to be an essential producer and exporter of oil globally, and has a huge impact on global oil prices. Alex Ward, Vox, "Why the US won’t break up with Saudi Arabia over Jamal Khashoggi’s murder," 20 Nov. 2018 Training managers in coaching skills is an essential element to building a strong coaching culture, said 87 percent of the companies. The Seattle Times, "Leadership coaching for organizational success," 14 Nov. 2018 Scroll through for all the essential must-sees (and -eats and -dos), like the futuristic park Gardens By the Bay. Laura Dannen Redman, Condé Nast Traveler, "What to Do in Singapore: The (Mini) Black Book," 14 Nov. 2018 That changes today with our list of the most essential items that make on-the-go living possible. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The ultimate van life shopping guide," 14 Nov. 2018 One promising approach is to spread out the essential genes across the bacteria’s entire genome, rather than clustering them all in one place. Jonathon Keats, Discover Magazine, "Bacteria That Eat Drugs Could Help Solve the Antibiotic Resistance Crisis," 8 Nov. 2018 In the months after Jack’s death, Miguel is becoming quietly essential to the Pearson family. Emma Dibdin, Country Living, "'This Is Us' Reveals the Heartbreaking Promise Miguel Made to Jack Before He Died," 24 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Maple cabinetry with soft close hinges and a 75-liter fridge store all the essentials, as do upper cabinets throughout the van. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Cozy camper van stands out with custom woodworking," 15 Aug. 2018 Boon Supply offers over 200 home essentials, from kitchen tools and home storage solutions to gardening supplies and reusable grocery bags. Olivia Harrison, refinery29.com, "This New Home Store Gives 50% Of Every Purchase To A Cause Of Your Choice," 10 May 2018 Aside from the obvious winter essentials, be sure to pick up a hydration pack. Rheanna Bellomo, Esquire, "Skip Breckenridge and Make Ogden Your Next Ski Destination," 14 Feb. 2018 These fabrics are quick-drying and sweat-wicking, essentials in the wilderness. Colleen Stinchcombe, SELF, "7 Tips for Packing All the Right Clothing for Your First Backpacking Trip," 24 Oct. 2018 Our recommendation is to locate the nearest boulangerie, buy a baguette (only a couple Euro, usually) and a few other essentials, and have a truly Parisian picnic. Hanna Howard, Teen Vogue, "Paris Study Abroad: 7 Things to Do That Won’t Take All Your Euros," 12 Oct. 2018 Hurricane prep includes sealing windows and doors, boarding up windows, and shopping for the essentials like food, water, and batteries. Aditi Shrikant, Vox, "Why some people buy Pop-Tarts and liquor before a hurricane — and some people don’t prepare at all.," 12 Sep. 2018 But a few other road-cycling essentials for your bike and body will give you added protection against oncoming traffic and the elements. Julie Brown, Outside Online, "The Gear You Need to Stay Safe on a Road Bike," 5 July 2018 Simply stock up ahead of time on a few essentials, and you’ll be set to enjoy your ideal summertime get-together. Indianapolis Star, "How to Throw an Unforgettable Fourth of July Party," 20 June 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

28 Nov 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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