of the essence


Of the greatest importance, crucial, as in Time is of the essence. This idiom, which uses essence in the sense of “the most important element of something,” was first recorded in 1873, although the phrase the essence of ... was already being used in the mid-1600s.

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Question 1 of 9
You may have read the word "simmer" in a recipe or two, but what does it really mean?
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.