essential implies belonging to the very nature of a thing and therefore being incapable of removal without destroying the thing itself or its character.
conflict is essential in drama
fundamental applies to something that is a foundation without which an entire system or complex whole would collapse.
fundamental principles of algebra
vital suggests something that is necessary to a thing's continued existence or operation.
cut off from vital supplies
cardinal suggests something on which an outcome turns or depends.
a cardinal rule in buying a home
Examples of vital in a Sentence
These matters are vital to national defense.
The sciences are a vital part of the school curriculum.
your heart, lungs, and other vital organs
Exercise keeps her young and vital.
Recent Examples on the WebNot to be mistaken as a cushiony workplace perk, psychologically safe workplaces are vital for the bottom line—improving company culture, mitigating burnout, and retaining workers.—Alexa Mikhail, Fortune Well, 21 Nov. 2023 Therefore, engagement and continuous communication between the educator, educational systems, and the parent is vital for a student's success.—Marla Bautista, Parents, 20 Nov. 2023 But that transparency is vital for building trust, especially in an informed community that quickly sees through attempts to mask inaccessibility.—WIRED, 17 Nov. 2023 That’s a tough but vital job for a manager, adapting to employee needs.—Byeamon Barrett, Fortune, 17 Nov. 2023 The model has shaped decades of policy regarding whose literacy is considered vital and worthy of extra help and investment—and whose is not.—Sarah Carr, Scientific American, 16 Nov. 2023 Freeway closure and snarled traffic pose a fresh political test for Mayor Bass
The closure of a vital piece of civic infrastructure presents a new, potentially thorny challenge for Mayor Karen Bass.—Laurel Rosenhall, Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2023 Previous aid supplies to Gaza have not included fuel, which UNRWA and other aid agencies say is vital for hospitals, food supply and water salination plants, among other things.—NBC News, 15 Nov. 2023 In a shutdown, only the most vital government services would function.—Tony Romm, Washington Post, 9 Nov. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'vital.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle English, from Latin vitalis of life, from vita life; akin to Latin vivere to live — more at quick entry 1