non·​es·​sen·​tial | \ˌnän-i-ˈsen(t)-shəl \

Definition of nonessential 

1 : not essential

2 : being a substance synthesized by the body in sufficient quantity to satisfy dietary needs nonessential fatty acids — see also nonessential amino acid — compare essential sense 2b

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Other Words from nonessential

nonessential noun

Examples of nonessential in a Sentence

All nonessential personnel had to be laid off. Please avoid all nonessential uses of water.

Recent Examples on the Web

But forgetting nonessential details is not unusual for trauma survivors. Carlos Maza, Vox, "Why Kavanaugh’s accusers can’t remember everything," 28 Sep. 2018 For many female athletes, the bigger picture includes issues like maternity leave and child care that would have seemed nonessential — even ludicrous — when Zvonareva, now 33, was just another teen flag-bearer in the WTA Tour’s youth parade. Karen Crouse, New York Times, "Mothers in Tennis Grow in Influence," 9 July 2018 Early Sunday morning, all media and nonessential staff were cleared from the cave site as divers, medics and military began moving into place. Thomas Maresca And John Bacon, USA TODAY, "4 are out; 9 to go: Captivated world watches Thailand cave rescue," 9 July 2018 Since then, Fortnite has brought in more than $1.2 billion in revenue, all of which comes from nonessential in-app purchases, for stuff like clothing and dance moves. Rani Molla, Recode, "Fortnite is generating more revenue than any other free game ever," 26 June 2018 Without a budget deal, the state faced a potential shutdown of nonessential services — including state parks and beaches, racetracks, and Motor Vehicle Commission offices. Maddie Hanna,, "N.J. leaders reach budget deal, avert government shutdown," 30 June 2018 Last week, Iran banned import of 1,400 foreign nonessential and luxury goods to reduce the amount of foreign currency leaving the country. Bloomberg,, "Tehran's Grand Bazaar shut down as economic protests spread," 26 June 2018 Another step to consider is cutting back on nonessential household expenses and adding those dollars to a savings or investment account. Andrew Menachem, miamiherald, "Two big challenges facing women in retirement planning," 3 June 2018 Wills is both essential to the plot and nonessential to the drama. Rebecca Farley,, "The Bachelorette Season 14, Episode 4 Recap: Two Rose Ceremonies, One Clown," 19 June 2018

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

1751, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for nonessential

Last Updated

23 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nonessential

The first known use of nonessential was in 1751

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More Definitions for nonessential



English Language Learners Definition of nonessential

: not completely necessary : not essential


non·​es·​sen·​tial | \ˌnän-i-ˈsen-shəl \

Kids Definition of nonessential

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not necessary We cut back on nonessential purchases.



Kids Definition of nonessential (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is not necessary There is no room for nonessentials.


non·​es·​sen·​tial | \-i-ˈsen-chəl \

Medical Definition of nonessential 

: being a substance synthesized by the body in sufficient quantity for normal health and growth a nonessential fatty acid — compare essential

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Comments on nonessential

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the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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