in·dis·pens·able | \ ˌin-di-ˈspen(t)-sə-bəl \

Definition of indispensable 

1 : not subject to being set aside or neglected an indispensable obligation

2 : absolutely necessary : essential an indispensable member of the staff

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Other words from indispensable

indispensability \ˌin-di-ˌspen(t)-sə-ˈbi-lə-tē \ noun
indispensable noun
indispensableness \ˌin-di-ˈspen(t)-sə-bəl-nəs \ noun
indispensably \ˌin-di-ˈspen(t)-sə-blē \ adverb

Examples of indispensable in a Sentence

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

This exhibition at the ICA LA looks at the work of one of those indispensable assistants: Norm Laich, who has helped produce iconic works for a range of Los Angeles artists, including Ed Ruscha, Paul McCarthy and Barbara Kruger. Carolina A. Miranda,, "Datebook: Shots of old Route 66, dreamlike paintings and garments fashioned from paper," 12 July 2018 She is backed up by researchers who insist that recess is an indispensable part of the school day. Koby Levin, Detroit Free Press, "Thousands of grade school children in Detroit go without recess," 7 July 2018 However, the one indispensable pitcher in the Pac-12 has been Heimlich, the leader in wins (13), strikeouts (129), strikeouts looking (39) and innings (97.0)., "High stakes for Oregon State baseball against UCLA; projecting Pac-12 award winners," 24 May 2018 The ensemble has long been viewed as an indispensable purveyor of punk, but that characterization is only partially accurate. Bill Brownlee, kansascity, "Social Distortion headlines the Middle of the Map Fest June 30 at Crossroads KC.," 13 June 2018 San Francisco officials have maintained that the legality of Hetch Hetchy has long been settled and that the water supply has become indispensable for the region. Kurtis Alexander,, "Appeals court rejects effort to tear down Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Reservoir," 10 July 2018 Political leaders and commentators have convinced themselves that Mrs. Merkel is indispensable for German stability or European cooperation or something. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Let German Voters Try Again," 2 July 2018 With two years of experience and connections under his belt, Poynter still finds the app to be indispensable for both his coaching business and his own professional development. Stepfanie Romine, Indianapolis Star, "Looking for a new client, dream job or promotion? Just swipe right.," 30 Apr. 2018 ValueAct says that makes Citi indispensable to clients and creates stable profits—unlike investment-banking services such as merger advisory in which Citi has sometimes trailed rivals. David Benoit, WSJ, "Activist Sets Sights on Citigroup," 7 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of indispensable

1653, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for indispensable

The first known use of indispensable was in 1653

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More Definitions for indispensable



English Language Learners Definition of indispensable

: extremely important and necessary


in·dis·pens·able | \ ˌin-di-ˈspen-sə-bəl \

Kids Definition of indispensable

: extremely important or necessary : essential indispensable workers


in·dis·pen·sa·ble | \ ˌin-di-ˈspen-sə-bəl \

Legal Definition of indispensable 

: 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

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Comments on indispensable

What made you want to look up indispensable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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