Definition of essence
1a : the permanent as contrasted with the accidental element of beingb : the individual, real, or ultimate nature of a thing especially as opposed to its existence a painting that captures the essence of the landc : the properties or attributes by means of which something can be placed in its proper class or identified as being what it is
2 : something that exists : entity
3a (1) : a volatile substance or constituent (as of perfume) (2) : a constituent or derivative possessing the special qualities (as of a plant or drug) in concentrated form; also : a preparation of such an essence or a synthetic substituteb : odor, perfume
4 : one that possesses or exhibits a quality in abundance as if in concentrated form she was the essence of punctuality
5 : the most significant element, quality, or aspect of a thing or person the essence of the issue
of the essence
: of the utmost importance time is of the essence
Examples of essence in a Sentence
The perennial debate about nature and nurture—which is the more potent shaper of the human essence?—is perennially rekindled. —Matt Ridley, Time, 2 June 2003
In essence, the positivists were the first sociologists, rejecting both superstition and metaphysics and studying behavior as a natural phenomenon that could be perfected. —Stephan Talty, Mulatto America, 2003
I had come to Orange Cove on a statewide tour, looking for the essence of Latino life in a changing California and a good bowl of the Mexican stew … —Joe Rodriguez, San Jose Mercury News, 20 May 2003
The essence of love is unselfishness.
The book's illustrations capture the essence of the story.
Recent Examples of essence from the Web
In essence, the efficacy of High-Altitude Climate Therapy validates some of the oldest therapies humans have on the books.
In essence, the fish has fashioned a sort of armored nest for its young.
In essence, Alden's sharp-edged tone, surprising twists of phrase and unexpected chord changes were counterbalanced by Brown's even-keel dynamics, sleek lines and smooth-and-steady approach to rhythm.
Tchaikovsky persistently tried to deceive his own essence and become like everyone else.
Some at Google—perhaps annoyed that Musk is, in essence, pointing a finger at them for rushing ahead willy-nilly—dismiss his dystopic take as a cinematic cliché.
Lake’s idea was, in essence, an accessible personal shopper.
Judges with the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in two cases that at their essence ask the court again to delve into the issues of separation of church and state and the establishment clause of the First Amendment.
Essence also works with clients like Target, Walgreens and the Financial Times.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'essence'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
ESSENCE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of essence for English Language Learners
: the basic nature of a thing : the quality or qualities that make a thing what it is
: a substance that contains in very strong form the special qualities (such as the taste and smell) of the thing from which it is taken
ESSENCE Defined for Kids
Medical Definition of essence
1: a substance considered to possess in high degree the predominant qualities of a natural product (as a plant or drug) from which it is extracted (as by distillation or infusion)
2a: essential oilb: an alcoholic solution especially of an essential oil essence of peppermintc: an artificial preparation (as an alcoholic solution of one or more esters) used especially in flavoringd: elixir
Legal Definition of essence
1 : the real or ultimate nature of a thing : the properties that make a thing what it is his award is legitimate only so long as it draws its essence from the collective bargaining agreement — United Steel Workers v. Enterprise Wheel and Car Corp., 363 U.S. 593 (1960) — see also essence test
2 : the predominant purpose of a thing the essence of the contract
of the essence
: of the utmost importance; specifically : so material in nature that failure to satisfy its requirements constitutes a breach of contract time is of the essence
Seen and Heard
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