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an essential role
a necessary role
a crucial role
an imperative role
a vital role
an integral role
essential information
critical information
fundamental information
useful information
primary information
precious information
an essential element
a key element
a requisite element
a major element
a main element
an important element

Synonym Chooser

How is the word essential different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of essential are cardinal, fundamental, and vital. While all these words mean "so important as to be indispensable," 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

When could cardinal be used to replace essential?

While in some cases nearly identical to essential, cardinal suggests something on which an outcome turns or depends.

a cardinal rule in buying a home

When is fundamental a more appropriate choice than essential?

While the synonyms fundamental and essential are close in meaning, fundamental applies to something that is a foundation without which an entire system or complex whole would collapse.

fundamental principles of algebra

When would vital be a good substitute for essential?

The words vital and essential are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, vital suggests something that is necessary to a thing's continued existence or operation.

cut off from vital supplies

Thesaurus Entries Near essential

Cite this Entry

“Essential.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

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