What does essential mean?

Definitions for essential
əˈsɛn ʃəles·sen·tial

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word essential.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. necessity, essential, requirement, requisite, necessaryadjective

    anything indispensable

    "food and shelter are necessities of life"; "the essentials of the good life"; "allow farmers to buy their requirements under favorable conditions"; "a place where the requisites of water fuel and fodder can be obtained"

  2. essential, indispensableadjective

    absolutely necessary; vitally necessary

    "essential tools and materials"; "funds essential to the completion of the project"; "an indispensable worker"

  3. essentialadjective

    basic and fundamental

    "the essential feature"

  4. all-important(a), all important(p), crucial, essential, of the essence(p)adjective

    of the greatest importance

    "the all-important subject of disarmament"; "crucial information"; "in chess cool nerves are of the essence"

  5. essentialadjective

    being or relating to or containing the essence of a plant etc

    "essential oil"

  6. substantive, essentialadjective

    defining rights and duties as opposed to giving the rules by which rights and duties are established

    "substantive law"


  1. essentialnoun

    A necessary ingredient.

  2. essentialnoun

    A fundamental ingredient.

  3. essentialadjective


  4. essentialadjective


  5. essentialadjective

    Very important; of high importance.

  6. essentialadjective

    Being in the basic form; showing its essence.

    Don't mind him being grumpy. That's the essential Fred.

  7. essentialadjective

    Such that each complementary region is irreducible, the boundary of each complementary region is incompressible by disks and monogons in the complementary region, and no leaf is a sphere or a torus bounding a solid torus in the manifold.

  8. Etymology: From essentialis, from essentia.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. ESSENTIALadjective

    Etymology: essentialis, Latin.

    The discipline of our church, although it be not an essential part of our religion, should not be rashly altered, as the very substance of our religion will be interested in it. Francis Bacon.

    From that original of doing good, that is essential to the infinite being of our Creator, we have an excellent copy transcribed. Thomas Sprat, Sermon.

    This power cannot be innate and essential to matter; and if it be not essential, it is consequently most manifest it could never supervene to it, unless impressed and infused into it by an immaterial and divine power. Richard Bentley, Sermons.

    A great minister puts you a case, and asks your opinion; but conceals an essential circumstance, upon which the whole weight of the matter turns. Jonathan Swift.

    And if each system in gradation roll,
    Alike essential to th’ amazing whole,
    The least confusion but in one, not all
    That system only, but the whole must fall. Alexander Pope.

    Judgment’s more essential to a general,
    Than courage. John Denham, Sophy.

    The juice of the seed is an essential oil or balm, designed by nature to preserve the seed from corruption. Arbuthnot.

  2. Essentialnoun

    His utmost ire to the height enrag’d,
    Will either quite consume us, or reduce
    To nothing this essential. John Milton, Paradise Lost, b. ii.

    The plague of sin has even altered his nature, and eaten into his very essentials. Robert South, Sermons.


  1. essential

    Essential refers to something that is absolutely necessary or extremely important. It is a fundamental element or characteristic that is indispensable for the existence, operation or function of something or someone.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Essentialadjective

    belonging to the essence, or that which makes an object, or class of objects, what it is

  2. Essentialadjective

    hence, really existing; existent

  3. Essentialadjective

    important in the highest degree; indispensable to the attainment of an object; indispensably necessary

  4. Essentialadjective

    containing the essence or characteristic portion of a substance, as of a plant; highly rectified; pure; hence, unmixed; as, an essential oil

  5. Essentialadjective

    necessary; indispensable; -- said of those tones which constitute a chord, in distinction from ornamental or passing tones

  6. Essentialadjective

    idiopathic; independent of other diseases

  7. Etymology: [Cf. F. essentiel. See Essence.]


  1. Essential

    Essential is a 1991 collection of hits by The Divinyls.

Editors Contribution

  1. essential

    A fundamental form.

    The fundamental form of the system was created first and then the others mapped their systems into the whole.

    Submitted by MaryC on January 26, 2020  

  2. Essential

    A natural form.

    Wind is an essential form of the weather necessary to dry land, distribute seeds etc.

    Submitted by MaryC on January 26, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. Essential

    Essence vs Essential -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Essence and Essential.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'essential' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1147

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'essential' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2350

  3. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'essential' in Adjectives Frequency: #142

How to pronounce essential?

How to say essential in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of essential in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of essential in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of essential in a Sentence

  1. Stanford University engineer Wei-Min Wu:

    The most important part is understanding that the mealworm's gut is so efficient in degrading plastic, the bacteria is essential.

  2. Pfeffer Merrill:

    When they look to what college to pick, parents and students are thinking of the largest investment their family is likely to make beyond the purchase of a home, across the political spectrum, one of the most essential assets is [the opportunity] to be exposed to a wide range of views.

  3. Andreas Essig:

    Now copsin kills bacteria by binding to an essential cell wall building block, the cell wall you can consider like the achilles heel of bacteria, so when you disrupt the cell wall synthesis bacteria usually dies rapidly. The binding pattern of copsin on this building block is very unique and therefore copsin is active against bacteria resistant to conventional antibiotics.

  4. New York:

    I am sure there is a whole group of people who say,' I can not live without going to the movies.' But on a relative scale, a movie theater is less essential and poses a high risk, movie theaters are not that high on the list of essentials.

  5. Josh Popkin:

    I would like to apologize to the MTA, the essential workers, everyone I have affected.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for essential

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • أساسيArabic
  • съществен, основен, необходим, важенBulgarian
  • essencialCatalan, Valencian
  • nezbytný, nevyhnutelný, nejpodstatnější, jádro, nezbytnost, esenciální, nepostradatelný, zásadní, podstata, esence, nejdůležitější, hlavníCzech
  • vigtigDanish
  • essenziell, notwendig, wesentlich, unentbehrlichGerman
  • στοιχειώδης, ουσιαστικός, ουσιώδηςGreek
  • esencaEsperanto
  • esencialSpanish
  • vajalik, olulineEstonian
  • tärkeä, olennainen, normaali, perusluonteinen, oleellinen, elintärkeä, välttämätön, tarpeellinenFinnish
  • essentiel, fondamental, indispensableFrench
  • deatamach, riatanachScottish Gaelic
  • pentingIndonesian
  • essenzialeItalian
  • חִיוּנִיHebrew
  • 肝要, 肝心, 不可欠Japanese
  • 본질적인Korean
  • essentialisLatin
  • essenzjaliMaltese
  • essensiellNorwegian
  • noodzakelijk, essentieel, belangrijk, onontbeerlijk, wezenlijk, echt, nodigDutch
  • essensiellNorwegian Nynorsk
  • viktigNorwegian
  • zasadniczy, niezbędny, podstawowyPolish
  • fundamental, essencialPortuguese
  • fundamental, esențială, importantă, esențial, de bază, important, necesarRomanian
  • базовый, фундаментальный, необходимый, существенный, важный, основнойRussian
  • bistven, nujenSlovene
  • essentiell, väsentligSwedish
  • அத்தியாவசியTamil
  • ముఖ్యమైనTelugu
  • สำคัญThai
  • істотнеUkrainian
  • יקערדיקYiddish
  • 必要Chinese

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"essential." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 27 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/essential>.

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    a widespread outbreak of an infectious disease
    A arbitrary
    B occlusive
    C epidemic
    D articulate

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