[ uh-sen-shuhl ]
/ əˈsɛn ʃəl /
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See synonyms for: essential / essentials / essentially / essentialness on Thesaurus.com


absolutely necessary; indispensable: Discipline is essential in an army.
pertaining to or constituting the essence of a thing.
noting or containing an essence of a plant, drug, etc.
being such by its very nature or in the highest sense; natural; spontaneous: essential happiness.
  1. (of a singularity of a function of a complex variable) noting that the Laurent series at the point has an infinite number of terms with negative powers.
  2. (of a discontinuity) noting that the function is discontinuous and has no limit at the point.Compare removable (def. 2).


a basic, indispensable, or necessary element; chief point: Concentrate on essentials rather than details.



In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.

Origin of essential

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English essencial, from Late Latin essentiālis. See essence, -al1
1. See necessary. 2. Essential, inherent, intrinsic refer to that which is in the natural composition of a thing. Essential suggests that which is in the very essence or constitution of a thing: Oxygen and hydrogen are essential in water. Inherent means inborn or fixed from the beginning as a permanent quality or constituent of a thing: properties inherent in iron. Intrinsic implies belonging to the nature of a thing itself, and comprised within it, without regard to external considerations or accidentally added properties: the intrinsic value of diamonds.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for essential

/ (ɪˈsɛnʃəl) /



something fundamental or indispensablea sharp eye is an essential for a printer
music an essential note
essentiality (ɪˌsɛnʃɪˈælɪtɪ) or essentialness, noun
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

Medical definitions for essential

[ ĭ-sĕnshəl ]


Constituting or being part of the essence of something; inherent.
Basic or indispensable; necessary.
Of, relating to, or being a dysfunctional condition or a disease whose cause is unknown.
Of, relating to, or being a substance that is required for normal functioning but cannot be synthesized by the body and therefore must be included in the diet.


Something fundamental.
Something necessary or indispensable.
es•sen′ti•ali•ty (-shē-ălĭ-tē) null n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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