[ in-di-spen-suh-buhl ]
/ ˌɪn dɪˈspɛn sə bəl /


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.

Nearby words

  1. indiscriminately,
  2. indiscriminating,
  3. indiscrimination,
  4. indiscussible,
  5. indispensability,
  6. indispose,
  7. indisposed,
  8. indisposition,
  9. indisputable,
  10. indissolubility

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for indispensable

British Dictionary definitions for indispensable


/ (ˌɪndɪˈspɛnsəbəl) /


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