[ es-se; English es-ee ]
/ ˈɛs sɛ; English ˈɛs i /
Save This Word!

noun Latin.
being; existence.
We could talk until we're blue in the face about this quiz on words for the color "blue," but we think you should take the quiz and find out if you're a whiz at these colorful terms.
Question 1 of 8
Which of the following words describes “sky blue”?
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What is esse?

Esse refers to existence or essence.

Esse means that something has a physical form or is not imaginary or fictional. It exists, as in During an existential crisis, a man may question life itself and even doubt the esse of reality.

Esse can also mean essence. It is the very nature of something or its defining quality, as in Freedom and choice are the esse of our democracy.

Example: The priest gave a sermon in which he said that humanity’s existence, our esse, is a gift from God.

Where does esse come from?

The first records of the English esse come from around 1600. It comes directly from the Latin esse, meaning “to be.”

Esse is very rarely used in English. In philosophy or theology, esse is sometimes used to discuss deep questions about what it means to actually exist as a person or in discussions of the existence and divinity of God. Outside of that, the word esse is likely to be found in a Latin quote.

Did you know ... ?

What are some synonyms for esse?

What are some words that share a root or word element with esse

What are some words that often get used in discussing esse?

How is esse used in real life?

Esse is very rarely used. On social media, esse is often used by people quoting (or pretending to quote) philosophers.

Try using esse!

Which of the following words is a synonym of esse?

A. nothingness
B. existence
C. absence
D. void

How to use esse in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for esse

/ (ˈɛsɪ) /

noun philosophy
essential nature; essence

Word Origin for esse

C17: from Latin: to be
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012