non·​es·​sen·​tial | \ ˌnän-i-ˈsen(t)-shəl How to pronounce nonessential (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Some workers have begun returning to the plant's entrance after evacuating and nonessential personnel were sent home for the day. Fox News, "Explosion, fire injure 37 at Houston-area ExxonMobil refinery," 31 July 2019 That could leave Oregon’s economy vulnerable to a steady erosion of jobs over time, or a sharp decline during a recession if companies scale back nonessential operations in outposts. Mike Rogoway,, "Portland shipbuilder Vigor Industrial sells to D.C. investment firm," 25 July 2019 The bill would create a government-run health insurance system and eliminate all private health plans except for nonessential services such as cosmetic surgery. Doyle Mcmanus,, "Yes, she stuck it to Biden, but Harris’ positions are tough to pin down," 7 July 2019 Shell and Chevron have evacuated nonessential staff from some of their Gulf drilling rigs, company officials said. Faith Karimi, CNN, "Millions under flash flood risk as a tropical system strengthens in the Gulf of Mexico," 11 July 2019 Another pathway, the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, keeps the body on high alert by tapping glucose reserves and dialing back nonessential functions. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, "What Science Says About Why You're Stressed and How to Cope," 21 June 2019 The other 11 are nonessential because the body is able to synthesize them out of the essential amino acids or the normal process of breaking down proteins, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Here's What Actually Happens in Your Body When You Eat Protein," 20 June 2019 In May, the U.S. evacuated nonessential diplomatic staff from Iraq. Jon Gambrell, The Denver Post, "U.S. Navy expert says tanker attack mine resembles Iranian mines," 19 June 2019 Unfortunately for taxpayers—if recent history is any guide—a shutdown wouldn’t end up generating any savings because federal wages will end up being retroactively authorized for essential and nonessential alike. James Freeman, WSJ, "Washington on $10 Billion a Day," 20 Dec. 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.

See More

First Known Use of nonessential

1751, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about nonessential

Statistics for nonessential

Last Updated

17 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nonessential

The first known use of nonessential was in 1751

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for nonessential



English Language Learners Definition of nonessential

: not completely necessary : not essential


non·​es·​sen·​tial | \ ˌnän-i-ˈsen-shəl How to pronounce nonessential (audio) \

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 How to pronounce nonessential (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on nonessential

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


authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!