View synonyms for essential


[ uh-sen-shuhl ]


  1. absolutely necessary; indispensable:

    Discipline is essential in an army.

    Synonyms: vital, intrinsic, inherent, basic, fundamental

  2. pertaining to or constituting the essence of a thing.

    Antonyms: accidental, extrinsic, extraneous, incidental

  3. noting or containing an essence of a plant, drug, etc.
  4. being such by its very nature or in the highest sense; natural; spontaneous:

    essential happiness.

  5. Mathematics.
    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 ).


  1. a basic, indispensable, or necessary element; chief point:

    Concentrate on essentials rather than details.


/ ɪˈsɛnʃəl; ɪˌsɛnʃɪˈælɪtɪ /


  1. vitally important; absolutely necessary
  2. basic; fundamental

    the essential feature

  3. completely realized; absolute; perfect

    essential beauty

  4. biochem (of an amino acid or a fatty acid) necessary for the normal growth of an organism but not synthesized by the organism and therefore required in the diet
  5. derived from or relating to an extract of a plant, drug, etc

    an essential oil

  6. logic (of a property) guaranteed by the identity of the subject; necessary. Thus, if having the atomic number 79 is an essential property of gold, nothing can be gold unless it has that atomic number
  7. music denoting or relating to a note that belongs to the fundamental harmony of a chord or piece
  8. pathol (of a disease) having no obvious external cause

    essential hypertension

  9. geology (of a mineral constituent of a rock) necessary for defining the classification of a rock. Its absence alters the rock's name and classification
“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


  1. something fundamental or indispensable

    a sharp eye is an essential for a printer

  2. music an essential note
“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
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Derived Forms

  • essentiality, noun
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Other Words From

  • es·sential·ly adverb
  • es·sential·ness noun
  • prees·sential noun adjective
  • prees·sential·ly adverb
  • quasi-es·sential adjective
  • quasi-es·sential·ly adverb
  • subes·sential adjective
  • subes·sential·ly adverb
  • subes·sential·ness noun
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Word History and Origins

Origin of essential1

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English essencial, from Late Latin essentiālis. See essence, -al 1
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Synonym Study

See necessary. 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.
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Example Sentences

Like plenty of other modern direct-to-consumer companies, influencer marketing has been an essential part of Fabletics’ journey.

Before understanding Canix, it’s essential to know the landscape of growing legal cannabis in the United States.

These changes have stopped the essential flow of nutrient-rich sediment to the river’s deltas and the wetlands they support.

We know that our body is colonized by microbes, particularly in the gut, which perform metabolic processes essential to our lives.

Thus, it is essential to build public confidence in the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness, so more people will volunteer to get vaccinated.

From Fortune

But Winning Marriage will be essential for the historian who, someday, tries to tell the full story.

Law is essential to freedom because it safeguards citizens against misconduct and abuse.

Dana Rubenstein of The New York Observer wrote that “essential to the experience was segregation.”

Young Living traffics in essential oils designed to help relax and rejuvenate.

Claiming to be useful against Ebola, autism, and cancer, Young Living Essential Oils came under fire from the FDA.

Water itself is of course essential to the growth of every plant, but the benefits of Irrigation reach far beyond this.

As a rule, however, persistent glycosuria is diagnostic of diabetes mellitus, of which disease it is the essential symptom.

Such are most probably given by the essential oils, which vary in amount in different species of the plant.

But the essential problem of to-day is to know how far we are to depart from its principles.

In its essential nature socialism is nothing but a proposal for certain kinds of economic reform.





Esseneessential amino acid