absolutely necessary, essential, or requisite: an indispensable member of the staff.
incapable of being disregarded or neglected: an indispensable obligation.


a person or thing that is indispensable.

Origin of indispensable

First recorded in 1525–35, indispensable is from the Medieval Latin word indispēnsābilis not subject to dispensation. See in-3, dispensable
Related formsin·dis·pen·sa·bil·i·ty, in·dis·pen·sa·ble·ness, nounin·dis·pen·sa·bly, adverb

Synonyms for indispensable

1. needed. See necessary. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for indispensable

Contemporary Examples of indispensable

Historical Examples of indispensable

British Dictionary definitions for indispensable



absolutely necessary; essential
not to be disregarded or escapedan indispensable role


an indispensable person or thing
Derived Formsindispensability or indispensableness, nounindispensably, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for indispensable

1530s, from Medieval Latin indispensabilis, from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + dispensabilis (see dispensable). Related: Indispensably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper