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 And here, on Tuesday, were the attendant questions, at least as grim: Are voters essential personnel in a pandemic? Matt Flegenheimer, New York Times, "Are Voters ‘Essential Personnel’ During a Pandemic?," 17 Mar. 2020 Now, the event will be held at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando with only essential personnel. Dakin Andone, CNN, "More sports events have been postponed amid coronavirus outbreaks," 17 Mar. 2020 All full-time non-essential arena personnel have been told to work from home starting this week. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Little Caesars Arena disinfected; no Detroit Red Wings players have reported coronavirus symptoms," 16 Mar. 2020 Only essential personnel will be on the closed set at WWE’s training facility in Orlando, Florida to produce WrestleMania. Paul Schott, Houston Chronicle, "WWE to move WrestleMania, hold it without fans," 16 Mar. 2020 Some have limited staff to essential personnel only. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, "Coronavirus shutdowns: What’s open, what’s closed?," 16 Mar. 2020 Yes, on Sunday night, this never more cozy 72-year-old Terminator had a message to deliver to his 4.4 million Twitter followers: staying home is essential. Ashley Hoffman, Time, "This Is the Arnold Schwarzenegger Approach to Self-Isolation During the Coronavirus Outbreak," 16 Mar. 2020 San Francisco banned non-essential personnel and visitors from the city’s hospitals until April 30. Mallory Moench, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Area keeps shutting down as coronavirus cases climb, but help is coming," 14 Mar. 2020 Vice President Mike Pence has repeatedly stressed that such a longer-term human presence was essential for developing technologies to explore deeper into the... Andy Pasztor, WSJ, "Plans for Lunar Bases in Limbo as NASA Mulls Schedule Slip and Program Changes," 14 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun To make sure that Michigan medical professionals and citizens have access to potentially life-saving suppliers, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has lifted road weight restrictions for trucks carrying essentials. Sebastian Blanco, Car and Driver, "Coronavirus Could Hurt Michigan's Roads as Heavy Trucks Bring In Needed Supplies," 18 Mar. 2020 Most shops in Waltham Forest are independent grocery stores that tend to open very long hours and stock only essentials. Cassie Werber, Quartz, "Coronavirus is making London’s corner shops vitally important again," 17 Mar. 2020 Consumer goods are flying off the shelves in several parts of the country as customers have started hoarding essentials like flour, oil, salt, soap, and toothpaste. Itika Sharma Punit, Quartz India, "How coronavirus caught life and businesses unawares in India," 17 Mar. 2020 Companies like Staples couldn't quantify the increase in work-at-home essentials. Danielle Abril, Fortune, "Computer monitors and other work-at-home essentials are in big demand in the coronavirus era," 16 Mar. 2020 As news of coronavirus cases spread through the country, people were rushing out to buy hand sanitizer, toilet paper, face masks and another essentials. Lainey Seyler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Even Da Crusher is prepared for coronavirus. A South Milwaukee resident took photos of the statue with face mask and toilet paper.," 16 Mar. 2020 Grocers and other chains that sell foods, medicines and household essentials have promised to stay open and restock as people race to fill pantries and refrigerators. Sarah Nassauer, WSJ, "Coronavirus Prompts Abercrombie, Nike, Others to Close Shops," 15 Mar. 2020 Bars and restaurants must stay shut until March 25 (although many suspect this is wishful thinking), along with all shops except pharmacies and those selling essentials such as food, hardware, electronics, newspapers, and cigarettes. Nicky Swallow, Condé Nast Traveler, "What It's Like to be in Italy During the Coronavirus Lockdown," 13 Mar. 2020 That means having basic essentials on hand such as food, medicine, and cleaning supplies. Stefani Sassos, Ms, Rdn, Cso, Good Housekeeping, "What to Buy for Coronavirus Preparation, According to Experts," 12 Mar. 2020

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

20 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Essential.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/essential. Accessed 1 Apr. 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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