Definition of essential in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈsen(t)SHəl/


1Absolutely necessary; extremely important: [with infinitive]: it is essential to keep up-to-date records fiber is an essential ingredient
More example sentences
  • It is absolutely essential that the surfaces to be coated are extremely clean since the slightest contamination can ruin the end result.
  • And I think a name change is absolutely essential.
  • ‘It is absolutely essential to give all Canadians the chance to make the most of their abilities,’ she said.
urgent, pressing, paramount, preeminent, high-priority, nonnegotiable
informal must-have
1.1 [attributive] Fundamental or central to the nature of something or someone: the essential weakness of the plaintiff’s case
More example sentences
  • No matter how far they run, the characters can never escape their essential natures.
  • But its essential nature remained unchanged: it was dumb hardware.
  • But, that is the essential nature of the intelligence business.
basic, inherent, fundamental, quintessential, intrinsic, underlying, characteristic, innate, primary, elementary, elemental;
central, pivotal, vital
1.2 Biochemistry (Of an amino acid or fatty acid) required for normal growth but not synthesized in the body and therefore necessary in the diet.
Example sentences
  • Key essential amino acids are valine, leucine, isoleucine, tryptophan and methionine.
  • Homocysteine is a sulfur-containing amino acid produced in the metabolism of the essential amino acid methionine.
  • Carbohydrates are not a requirement for survival as are proteins, essential fatty acids, vitamins, or minerals.
2 Medicine (Of a disease) with no known external stimulus or cause; idiopathic: essential hypertension
More example sentences
  • He also had chronic obstructive airways disease and essential hypertension.
  • Investigations confirmed a diagnosis of essential hypertension and treatment was started.
  • Unlike Parkinson's disease, however, essential tremor doesn't lead to serious complications.


(usually essentials)
1A thing that is absolutely necessary: we had only the bare essentials in the way of gear
More example sentences
  • A car is an essential if you want to do Sicily properly, but it is impossible to see the whole island in a week unless you are on a touring holiday, since tortuous mountain roads make for slow driving.
  • A mundane but increasingly important detail to note is that this home comes with a large private parking area to the rear - almost an essential in big-city living.
  • The logic is that if an area is improved as a fishing resource there will also be benefits for the fish as a healthy aquatic environment is an essential for a healthy fish population.
1.1 (essentials) The fundamental elements or characteristics of something: he was quick to grasp the essentials of an opponent’s argument
More example sentences
  • Stripped down to essentials, the elements of this style are extremely simple.
  • They strip down the situation to its fundamental essentials and bring both party's concerns forward.
  • He was able to expose with great clarity and great economy the essentials of a piece of mathematics, be it elementary or advanced.



Pronunciation: /əˌsen(t)SHēˈalədē/
Example sentences
  • Perhaps the most important change needed in America's approach to nonproliferation enforcement is to accept the essentiality of organizing coalitions to deal with proliferation.
  • It is for this reason that Ms Chileshe advocates that the essentiality of indigenous knowledge systems be given a slot in the broad spectrum of modern environmental education.
  • There is a notion of museum essentiality that is by no means beyond debate.


Example sentences
  • Much has been said about the connection between his search for geographical belonging and his quest for essentialness in his poetry.
  • The minute tinkerings with curriculum that characterize most reforms in English departments do not convince administrators of the vitality of our field and its essentialness to the world of our students.
  • To believe that its catalog is merely a backward extension of Farrar's solo career is to sorely underestimate the essentialness of the three other musicians who made up the band.


Middle English (in the sense 'in the highest degree'): from late Latin essentialis, from Latin essentia.

Words that rhyme with essential

cadential, confidential, consequential, credential, deferential, differential, evidential, existential, experiential, exponential, influential, intelligential, irreverential, jurisprudential, penitential, pestilential, potential, preferential, presidential, providential, prudential, quintessential, referential, residential, reverential, sapiential, sciential, sentential, sequential, tangential, torrential

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: es·sen·tial

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