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  1. absolutely necessary, essential, or requisite: an indispensable member of the staff.
  2. incapable of being disregarded or neglected: an indispensable obligation.
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  1. a person or thing that is indispensable.
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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

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1. needed. See necessary.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for indispensable

crucial, vital, imperative, fundamental, basic, essential, basal, cardinal, key, needed, prerequisite, primary, required, requisite, necessitous, needful

Examples from the Web for indispensable

Contemporary Examples of indispensable

Historical Examples of indispensable

British Dictionary definitions for indispensable


  1. absolutely necessary; essential
  2. not to be disregarded or escapedan indispensable role
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  1. an indispensable person or thing
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper