[ uh-sen-shuhl ]
/ əˈsɛn ʃəl /


absolutely necessary; indispensable: Discipline is essential in an army.
pertaining to or constituting the essence of a thing.
noting or containing an essence of a plant, drug, etc.
being such by its very nature or in the highest sense; natural; spontaneous: essential happiness.
  1. (of a singularity of a function of a complex variable) noting that the Laurent series at the point has an infinite number of terms with negative powers.
  2. (of a discontinuity) noting that the function is discontinuous and has no limit at the point.Compare removable(def 2).


a basic, indispensable, or necessary element; chief point: Concentrate on essentials rather than details.

Origin of essential

1300–50; Middle English essencial < Medieval Latin essenciālis for Late Latin essentiālis. See essence, -al1

SYNONYMS FOR essential

2 Essential, inherent, intrinsic refer to that which is in the natural composition of a thing. Essential suggests that which is in the very essence or constitution of a thing: Oxygen and hydrogen are essential in water. Inherent means inborn or fixed from the beginning as a permanent quality or constituent of a thing: properties inherent in iron. Intrinsic implies belonging to the nature of a thing itself, and comprised within it, without regard to external considerations or accidentally added properties: the intrinsic value of diamonds.


Example sentences from the Web for essential

British Dictionary definitions for essential

/ (ɪˈsɛnʃəl) /



something fundamental or indispensable a sharp eye is an essential for a printer
music an essential note

Derived forms of essential

essentiality (ɪˌsɛnʃɪˈælɪtɪ) or essentialness, noun

Medical definitions for essential

[ ĭ-sĕnshəl ]


Constituting or being part of the essence of something; inherent.
Basic or indispensable; necessary.
Of, relating to, or being a dysfunctional condition or a disease whose cause is unknown.
Of, relating to, or being a substance that is required for normal functioning but cannot be synthesized by the body and therefore must be included in the diet.


Something fundamental.
Something necessary or indispensable.

Other words from essential

es•sen′ti•ali•ty (-shē-ălĭ-tē) null n.