not essential; not necessary: Nonessential use of gasoline was forbidden during the war.


a nonessential thing or person.

Origin of nonessential

First recorded in 1745–55; non- + essential

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

Examples from the Web for non-essential

Contemporary Examples of non-essential

Historical Examples of non-essential

British Dictionary definitions for non-essential



not essential; not necessary
biochem (of an amino acid in a particular organism) able to be synthesized from other substances


a nonessential person or thing
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 non-essential

also nonessential, 1717, from non- + essential (adj.). Attested as a noun from 1806.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for non-essential




Being a substance required for normal functioning but not needed in the diet because the body can synthesize it.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.