in·​te·​gral | \ˈin-ti-grəl(usu so in mathematics); in-ˈte-grəl also -ˈtē- also nonstandard ˈin-trə-gəl \

Definition of integral 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : essential to completeness : constituent an integral part of the curriculum

b(1) : being, containing, or relating to one or more mathematical integers

(2) : relating to or concerned with mathematical integration or the results of mathematical integration

c : formed as a unit with another part a seat with integral headrest

2 : composed of constituent parts

3 : lacking nothing essential : entire


in·​te·​gral | \ˈin-ti-grəl(usu so in mathematics); in-ˈte-grəl also -ˈtē- also nonstandard ˈin-trə-gəl\

Definition of integral (Entry 2 of 2)

: the result of a mathematical integration — compare definite integral, indefinite integral

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Other Words from integral


integrality \ ˌin-​tə-​ˈgra-​lə-​tē \ noun
integrally \ ˈin-​ti-​grə-​lē ; in-​ˈte-​grə-​ also  -​ˈtē-​ \ adverb

Examples of integral in a Sentence


I do know that shoot-'em-ups (and saw-'em-ups) are likely to remain part of our lives, and that suggests a depressing idea: Maybe the love of violence is an integral part of human nature … — Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly, 12 Oct. 2007 Stuffed with peanut butter, celery is the quintessential after-school snack; diced, it provides an essential crunch to chicken and potato salads; buttered up, it is an integral part of Thanksgiving stuffing. — Sara Dickerman, New York Times Magazine, 3 Sept. 2006 Sitting out on the grass … watching the freight trains roll by on the levee at two in the morning, drinking a beer and listening to the music drifting out of the club, is an integral part of the whole experience. — Tom Piazza, Why New Orleans Matters, 2005 She had become an integral part of their lives. a car dealer respected for his integral honesty and straightforwardness with customers


The main tools used in the study of these functions are those we have already discussed: representation as integrals, power-series expansions, and differential equations. — Robert S. Strichartz, The Way of Analysis, 2000

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Over the course of more than 30 years, Cyma has played an integral role in growing Nickelodeon into the dominant force in kids’ entertainment. Alyssa Newcomb, NBC News, "Apple's big developer conference includes a bunch of new features," 4 June 2018 Barrack played an integral role in the 2016 campaign as a top fund-raiser at a time when many other Republicans were shunning the upstart candidate. Tom Lobianco,, "Mueller team questions Trump confidant Tom Barrack," 6 May 2018 Barrack played an integral role in the 2016 campaign as a top fundraiser at a time when many other Republicans were shunning the upstart candidate. Tom Lobianco, Time, "Robert Mueller's Team Questions President Trump's Close Friend Tom Barrack," 5 May 2018 For a truly zero-emission future, technologies like hydrogen fuel cells will play an integral role. Nicolas Stecher, WIRED, "Mercedes-Benz's Plan for Surviving the Auto Revolution," 30 Apr. 2018 Calvin's design work plays an integral role in enabling us to communicate our mission and impact. Grace Palmieri, azcentral, "Who's Next: 25 designers influencing Arizona from fashion to graphic design," 16 Mar. 2018 As civil rights groups have also noted, Kavanaugh played an integral role in developing the Bush administration’s case against race-conscious affirmative action programs at the University of Michigan. Li Zhou, Vox, "Kavanaugh bragged about his clerks’ diversity. His legal record is another story.," 8 Sep. 2018 Stretch has played an integral role in both situations. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "Facebook’s top lawyer is leaving as the company still grapples with election aftermath and a federal investigation," 25 July 2018 After playing an integral role in several investigations of Bill Clinton, Mr Kavanaugh had a change of heart. The Economist, "Brett Kavanaugh could shape the law for the next 40 years," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'integral.' 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 integral


1551, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1741, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for integral


see integer


see integer

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Statistics for integral

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for integral

The first known use of integral was in 1551

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More Definitions for integral



English Language Learners Definition of integral

: very important and necessary


in·​te·​gral | \ˈin-ti-grəl \

Kids Definition of integral

: very important and necessary : needed to make something complete an integral part

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Comments on integral

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