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

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 Canada has generally advised against nonessential international travel. Hannah Knowles, Anchorage Daily News, 11 Jan. 2022 But there's absolutely no excuse for nonessential employees to be forced to work on major holidays so that people can buy consumer goods. Kara Alaimo, CNN, 23 Nov. 2021 The attack shut down the campus Wi-Fi, and nonessential employees were instructed to not report to work, the university announced Monday. NBC News, 7 Sep. 2021 Starting in April, the embassy began sending home nonessential employees as security became more untenable in Kabul. New York Times, 11 Aug. 2021 Agencies did not consistently accommodate nonessential employees whose job duties could not be performed during telework, the auditor’s office said. David Jacobs, Washington Examiner, 2 Feb. 2021 That number grew days later after Gov. Andrew Cuomo mandated that nonessential employees work remotely. Katie Honan, WSJ, 19 Oct. 2020 Alaska Airlines, whose main hub is Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, went so far as to suggest that people put off nonessential travel until the new year. New York Times, 30 Dec. 2021 The border reopening in November to nonessential travel has given rise to exceedingly long lines that could stifle local commerce and economic recovery. Justin Ray, Los Angeles Times, 29 Dec. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of nonessential

1751, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for nonessential

Time Traveler

The first known use of nonessential was in 1751

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Dictionary Entries Near nonessential



nonessential amino acid

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Statistics for nonessential

Last Updated

23 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Nonessential.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on nonessential

Nglish: Translation of nonessential for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of nonessential for Arabic Speakers


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