non·​es·​sen·​tial ˌnän-i-ˈsen(t)-shəl How to pronounce nonessential (audio)
: not essential
: 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
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 That means identifying nonessential recurring purchases, pressing pause and redirecting that money into a savings account. Tanza Loudenback,, 16 Oct. 2023 Other nonessential government services might hit speed bumps as well. Brian Cheung, NBC News, 30 Sep. 2023 Employees in nonessential positions would be furloughed without a paycheck until the government is funded again. Caitlin Yilek, CBS News, 26 Sep. 2023 Following the killing, Britain’s foreign office warned UK nationals to avoid nonessential travel to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Nimi Princewill, CNN, 19 Oct. 2023 His may be an extreme example, but administrators elsewhere have been using similar tactics—namely, slashing entire academic programs before looking to nonessential spending to cut costs. Aaron R. Hanlon, The New Republic, 23 Oct. 2023 Anything nonessential falls into the wants category. Kevin J. Ryan,, 7 Sep. 2023 But a minority of paycheck-to-paycheck consumers point to another issue that's impacting their financial stability: nonessential spending on items such as travel, eating out and streaming services, the analysis found. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, 31 Aug. 2023 When no funding legislation is enacted, federal agencies have to stop all nonessential work and will not send paychecks as long as the shutdown lasts. Stephen Groves, Fortune, 28 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nonessential.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1751, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of nonessential was in 1751

Dictionary Entries Near nonessential

Cite this Entry

“Nonessential.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


non·​es·​sen·​tial ˌnän-i-ˈsen-chəl How to pronounce nonessential (audio)
: not necessary or essential
nonessential noun

Medical Definition


non·​es·​sen·​tial -i-ˈsen-chəl How to pronounce nonessential (audio)
: being a substance synthesized by the body in sufficient quantity for normal health and growth
a nonessential fatty acid
compare essential

More from Merriam-Webster on nonessential

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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