Synonym Chooser

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

Some common synonyms of vital are cardinal, essential, and fundamental. While all these words mean "so important as to be indispensable," vital suggests something that is necessary to a thing's continued existence or operation.

cut off from vital supplies

When might cardinal be a better fit than vital?

In some situations, the words cardinal and vital are roughly equivalent. However, cardinal suggests something on which an outcome turns or depends.

a cardinal rule in buying a home

When can essential be used instead of vital?

While the synonyms essential and vital are close in meaning, 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

Where would fundamental be a reasonable alternative to vital?

While in some cases nearly identical to vital, fundamental applies to something that is a foundation without which an entire system or complex whole would collapse.

fundamental principles of algebra

Thesaurus Entries Near vital

Cite this Entry

“Vital.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

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