in·​dis·​pens·​able ˌin-di-ˈspen(t)-sə-bəl How to pronounce indispensable (audio)
: absolutely necessary : essential
an indispensable member of the staff
: not subject to being set aside or neglected
an indispensable obligation
indispensability noun
indispensable noun
indispensableness noun
indispensably adverb

Example Sentences

fully aware that he was an indispensable assistant, he decided that it was high time that he be paid what he was worth
Recent Examples on the Web These small, inexpensive, and easily disposable drones have become indispensable for Ukrainian troops attempting to spot Russian positions on the frontlines. Thomas Mutch, Popular Mechanics, 13 Jan. 2023 The ability to build and launch quickly is indispensable for startups with big ideas and small budgets. Jennifer Huang Gil, Forbes, 28 Dec. 2022 The 10-year-old gene-editing tool known as CRISPR is indispensable for engineering plants, tailoring lab animals, and probing basic biology. Byjocelyn Kaiser,, 21 Nov. 2022 Jackson, specifically, had become indispensable, and Whittingham said as much early last week. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, 6 Nov. 2022 Since the pandemic began, the Mirror has become even more indispensable. Sam Gutierrez, Robb Report, 27 Oct. 2022 The skyrocketing demand demonstrated how BART had become indispensable in moving people throughout the Bay Area. Ricardo Cano, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 Sep. 2022 Writing is not indispensable for progress, Ms. Ferrara thinks. Felipe Fernández-armesto, WSJ, 11 Mar. 2022 There are many reasons why the Founding remains indispensable for 21st-century American conservatism, but here are two of the most important. Samuel Gregg, National Review, 6 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'indispensable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1653, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of indispensable was in 1653

Dictionary Entries Near indispensable

Cite this Entry

“Indispensable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​dis·​pens·​able ˌin-dis-ˈpen(t)-sə-bəl How to pronounce indispensable (audio)
: absolutely necessary : essential
an indispensable employee
indispensability noun

Legal Definition


in·​dis·​pen·​sa·​ble ˌin-di-ˈspen-sə-bəl How to pronounce indispensable (audio)
: having rights so connected to the claims of the parties to an action that the action cannot be adjudicated without affecting those rights see also indispensable party at party

More from Merriam-Webster on indispensable

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