essential

adjective
es·​sen·​tial | \ i-ˈsen(t)-shəl How to pronounce essential (audio) \

Essential Meaning of essential

1 : extremely important and necessary As a fighter pilot, he knows that good vision is essential. Reservations are essential [=necessary, needed] if you plan to eat there on a Saturday.
2 : very basic : fundamental Free speech is an essential right of citizenship. The essential problem with this plan is that it will cost too much. There's no essential difference between the two products.

Full Definition of essential

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or constituting essence : inherent
2a : of the utmost importance : basic, indispensable, necessary an essential requirement for admission to college
b : being a substance that is not synthesized by the body in a quantity sufficient for normal health and growth and that must be obtained from the diet a vegetable oil rich in essential fatty acids — see also essential amino acid — compare nonessential sense 2
3 : idiopathic essential disease essential hypertension

essential

noun

Definition of essential (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something basic the essentials of astronomy
2 : something necessary, indispensable, or unavoidable

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Other Words from essential

Adjective

essentialness \ i-​ˈsen(t)-​shəl-​nəs How to pronounce essential (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for essential

Adjective

essential, fundamental, vital, cardinal 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 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 essential in a Sentence

Adjective As a fighter pilot, he knows that good vision is essential. Free speech is an essential right of citizenship. The essential problem with this plan is that it will cost too much. There's no essential difference between the two products. Noun the essentials for success include a willingness to work and the right attitude this will be just an introduction to the essentials of computer programming
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Energy storage for clean power is an essential element of any move away from fossil fuels. oregonlive, 11 Oct. 2021 Therefore, Cox said being more flexible in scheduling — particularly throughout the pandemic — has been essential in keeping his workers happy. Ben Tobin, The Courier-Journal, 11 Oct. 2021 Again, the Biden administration has committed to doing that, but follow-through is essential. Robert Gehrke, The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 Oct. 2021 Increasing vaccination rates is an essential element to finding relief for workers caring for Covid-19 patients and to standing alongside staff in a tangible, visible way. Anne Marie Benedicto, STAT, 10 Oct. 2021 Better safety controls and communications systems were essential, along with a reduction of warheads. Washington Post, 9 Oct. 2021 All three would be essential in any conflict over Taiwan. New York Times, 9 Oct. 2021 Even for residents who aren’t particularly vulnerable to the flu, Arroyo said, a vaccine may be essential in protecting friends and family members. Alex Putterman, courant.com, 7 Oct. 2021 Vera Farmiga co-stars as Livia Soprano, an essential element to any Tony Soprano origin story. Keith Phipps, Rolling Stone, 6 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The sleek dual-sided Chanel compact mirror features a standard mirror on one side and a magnifying mirror on the other—an elegant essential for my makeup bag. Rachel Besser, Vogue, 8 Oct. 2021 Stephen Bittel, founder of the Terranova real estate services firm in Miami Beach, said Terranova remained open during the entire pandemic as its property management services were deemed as an essential by the government. David Lyons, sun-sentinel.com, 8 Oct. 2021 These will be an essential for any fall or winter travel plans in colder climates to keep you warm and your carry-on light. Meaghan Kenny, Condé Nast Traveler, 30 Sep. 2021 This Avene Spring Water is an essential for summer and especially in the subway. Sarah Han, Allure, 9 Aug. 2021 The first essential is, of course, not to read The Faery Queen. Catherine Nicholson, The New York Review of Books, 1 July 2021 Oversized jean jackets and dresses made for layering are sure to stick around, as are cardigan sweaters, an always fashionable essential that goes with just about everything. Lauren Rearick, PEOPLE.com, 19 Aug. 2021 Cutting boards are a kitchen essential, and the best ones offer up a durable surface for all your slicing, dicing, and chopping needs. Shayna Murphy, USA TODAY, 12 May 2021 Most at-home cooks use their mixing bowls frequently, if not daily, and depend on this kitchen essential to hold batters, sauces, and dough. Gina Vaynshteyn, Glamour, 22 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'essential.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of essential

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for essential

Time Traveler

The first known use of essential was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near essential

essentia

essential

essential amino acid

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Statistics for essential

Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Essential.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/essential. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for essential

essential

adjective
es·​sen·​tial | \ i-ˈsen-shəl How to pronounce essential (audio) \

Kids Definition of essential

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : extremely important or necessary It is essential that we all meet here.
2 : forming or belonging to the basic part of something Free speech is an essential right of citizenship.

Other Words from essential

essentially adverb

essential

noun

Kids Definition of essential (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is basic or necessary I packed the bare essentials for the trip.

essential

adjective
es·​sen·​tial | \ i-ˈsen-chəl How to pronounce essential (audio) \

Medical Definition of essential

1 : being, relating to, or containing an essence an essential odor
2 : being a substance that is not synthesized by the body in a quantity sufficient for normal health and growth and that must be obtained from the diet The body converts linoleic acid—an essential fatty acid that makes up 60 percent of corn oil—into arachidonic acid.— Janet Raloff, Science News, 24 June 1989 — see essential amino acid — compare nonessential
3 : having no obvious or known cause : idiopathic essential disease

More from Merriam-Webster on essential

Nglish: Translation of essential for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of essential for Arabic Speakers

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