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

Formal training in economics is now regarded as essential for monetary policy-making. Amar Bhidé, WSJ, "Congress Should Set the Fed’s Inflation Target—Ideally at Zero," 6 Nov. 2018 And this is essential for understanding the company's financial situation. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Why almost everyone was wrong about Tesla’s cash flow situation," 26 Oct. 2018 Finding Larry in this film was completely essential for me. Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, "The Price of Everything,," 18 Oct. 2018 Sleep is essential for regulating your body temperature, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "7 Reasons You Might Be Feeling Cold All the Time," 16 Oct. 2018 Collagen Peptides There are two amino acids in the protein collagen — proline and glycine — that are essential for the formation and repair of joints, bones, muscles, and tendons, Dr. Bowe says. Amy Capetta, Woman's Day, "5 Anti-Aging Supplements That May Actually Work," 16 Oct. 2018 In addition to developing new technologies, these types of studies are essential for the future of space travel — as scientists continue to figure out the most efficient ways to keep spacecrafts running on deep space voyages. Fox News, "Scientists invent way to create 'unlimited renewable energy'," 7 Sep. 2018 Occupationally, sun sign Virgos make excellent writers, editors, and critics — in fact, with Mercury as Virgo’s planetary ruler, fluid expression is essential for this sign. Allure, "How the Sun's Position In Your Birth Chart Affects Your Zodiac Sign," 14 Aug. 2018 Harry Potter is an essential for everyone's library, regardless your age or gender. Emily Ables, Seventeen, "17 Books Every Girl Should Read Before She's 17," 25 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 No longer just for anglers and the AARP-set, sun hats are bonafide adventure essentials in the desert. Hans Aschim, Popular Mechanics, "What It’s Like to Be in 105-Degree Heat for 5 Days," 8 June 2018 However, most people were reluctant to accept dollars in exchange for essentials such as food or clothing. Nan Randall, The Atlantic, "'Charlottesville': A Government-Commissioned Story About Nuclear War," 25 Jan. 2018 On the bottom are the essentials: hobbies, social time, brain work, and volunteer time; in the middle are exercise, outdoor time, and chores. Charlotte Latvala, Good Housekeeping, "Help Your Kids Make the Most of Summer," 4 May 2010

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

14 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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