Definition of essential in English:

essential

adjective

  • 1Absolutely necessary; extremely important.

    with infinitive ‘it is essential to keep up-to-date records’
    ‘fibre is an essential ingredient of our diet’
    • ‘In this fast-changing technological world, knowledge of computer operations has become absolutely essential.’
    • ‘And I think a name change is absolutely essential.’
    • ‘Yes, I think that it's absolutely essential that we do something like that.’
    • ‘It is absolutely essential for us to recognize the importance of continuing to invest in public higher education.’
    • ‘As tickets are limited early booking is essential to avoid disappointment.’
    • ‘The free market is absolutely essential to a healthy stable society.’
    • ‘And that is precisely what makes this book absolutely essential reading.’
    • ‘Computer skills are essential for success in today's business environment.’
    • ‘Voicing your concerns is absolutely essential.’
    • ‘The independence of the judiciary is essential to the proper functioning of our society.’
    • ‘‘It is absolutely essential to give all Canadians the chance to make the most of their abilities,’ she said.’
    • ‘It is absolutely essential that the scheme is maintained.’
    • ‘Iron is an essential nutrient for the survival and growth of virtually all bacteria.’
    • ‘They understood that cooperation was essential to survival.’
    • ‘It is absolutely essential that the surfaces to be coated are extremely clean since the slightest contamination can ruin the end result.’
    • ‘This will be absolutely essential if we want to avoid putting millions of additional hectares of land under the plough to feed a growing population.’
    • ‘It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2nd, we make the right choice.’
    • ‘Such is the level of suspicion and mistrust in politics nowadays that a rigorous audit is absolutely essential if public confidence is to be maintained in the political process.’
    • ‘But campaigners say the practice has added to the pressure on corner shops who rely on customers buying their essentials.’
    • ‘A free press is one of the most essential components of a democratic society.’
    • ‘Prime farm land must be conserved for agriculture and should not be allowed to be diverted to non-farm uses, unless absolutely essential.’
    • ‘But they lack one essential ingredient for success - money.’
    crucial, necessary, key, vital, indispensable, needed, required, called for, requisite, important, all-important, vitally important, of the utmost importance, of great consequence, of the essence, critical, life-and-death, imperative, mandatory, compulsory, obligatory, compelling, urgent, pressing, burning, acute, paramount, pre-eminent, high-priority, significant, consequential
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1attributive Fundamental or central to the nature of something or someone.
      ‘the essential weakness of the plaintiff's case’
      • ‘The love of beauty is an essential part of human nature.’
      • ‘The compensation claims have prompted a curious debate about what, exactly, is the essential nature of the punishment involved in imprisonment.’
      • ‘He has captured Macbeth's essential weakness of character in his slow descent into paranoia and depression.’
      • ‘But its essential nature remained unchanged: it was dumb hardware.’
      • ‘But, that is the essential nature of the intelligence business.’
      • ‘We are material beings and our sexuality is an essential part of our nature.’
      • ‘He focused on the family today and the need to promote its essential nature.’
      • ‘There is no shortage of ideas about the essential nature of the human species and the basic adaptations of our kind.’
      • ‘This would seem to be a clever way of catching wrong-doers, exploiting the criminal class's essential dishonesty and grasping nature.’
      • ‘There is nothing in the essential nature of the priesthood which says that priests must live the lifestyle which is imposed on them.’
      • ‘I don't expect cats to be free of the wild instinct that's an essential part of their nature.’
      • ‘The book has at least one essential flaw.’
      • ‘Such arguments blur, at the very least, the essential nature of democratic societies.’
      • ‘No matter how far they run, the characters can never escape their essential natures.’
      • ‘The film is about a good guy going bad and depicts the essential duality of human nature that oscillates between good and evil.’
      • ‘We want to preserve the essential nature of the town by promoting and supporting traders in meeting changing economic conditions.’
      • ‘The proposed church is compatible with the essential character of the surrounding area.’
      • ‘People talk about male and female, but what is the essential difference between the two?’
      basic, inherent, fundamental, quintessential, intrinsic, underlying, characteristic, innate, rudimentary, primary, principal, cardinal, chief, elementary, elemental
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (of an amino acid or fatty acid) required for normal growth but not synthesized in the body and therefore necessary in the diet.
      • ‘Packed as it is with yet more protein, salmon offers benefits beyond providing the body with essential amino acids.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Providing your body with essential amino acids before training reduces muscle loss and helps create an anabolic environment.’
      • ‘Carbohydrates are not a requirement for survival as are proteins, essential fatty acids, vitamins, or minerals.’
  • 2Medicine
    (of a disease) with no known external stimulus or cause; idiopathic.

    ‘essential hypertension’
    • ‘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.’

noun

usually essentials
  • 1A thing that is absolutely necessary.

    ‘we only had the bare essentials in the way of equipment’
    • ‘And, after all, you may only be able to make that one trip of a lifetime so don't cut corners by trying to save on the essentials.’
    • ‘And I drink lots of water and milk, so it's not like I'm lacking vitamins and essentials.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Lack of access to these essentials is generally referred to as living in extreme or abject poverty.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In about two weeks, we packed just the bare essentials and left our home forever.’
    • ‘People have been buying essentials in anticipation of imminent cuts in electricity and water supplies.’
    • ‘Hidden under the wrap is a free hanging zippered pocket to carry life's essentials.’
    • ‘Drinking plenty of water is one of the most overlooked essentials of a bodybuilding diet.’
    • ‘She bought a few essentials and some sweets for the children.’
    • ‘Fears of another tsunami have since subsided and survivors focused on finding life's essentials.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Fuel, in the form of food, is one of the three essentials that your body needs to stay alive.’
    • ‘Cleanliness, punctuality, order and method are essentials in the character of a good housekeeper.’
    • ‘We specialise in supplying all the holiday essentials you need for your holiday, trips and travel.’
    • ‘Reports that well-planned vegetarian diets are deficient in essentials are false.’
    • ‘Mandy organised her handbag with the essentials such as her phone and purse and, with one last look in the mirror for Kathy, left the room.’
    necessity, essential item, necessary item, prerequisite, requisite, requirement, need
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1essentials The fundamental elements or characteristics of something.
      ‘he was quick to grasp the essentials of an opponent's argument’
      • ‘They strip down the situation to its fundamental essentials and bring both party's concerns forward.’
      • ‘He himself had grasped the essentials of Jewish teaching.’
      • ‘The story is told by Michelangelo's pupil and biographer Condivi and is therefore presumably true in essentials.’
      • ‘Interest in whether the essentials of being human are given to us by nature or by nurture has a long pedigree.’
      • ‘They saw it as an abandonment of the essentials of the faith.’
      • ‘Stripped down to essentials, the elements of this style are extremely simple.’
      • ‘He was able to expose with great clarity and great economy the essentials of a piece of mathematics, be it elementary or advanced.’
      • ‘Communal forces thrive on the crass ignorance of the masses concerning the essentials of their faith.’
      • ‘There's a story that illustrates the importance of recognizing those essentials.’
      fundamentals, basics, rudiments, principles, first principles, foundations, preliminaries, groundwork
      View synonyms

Origin

Middle English (in the sense ‘in the highest degree’): from late Latin essentialis, from Latin essentia (see essence).

Pronunciation

essential

/ɪˈsɛnʃ(ə)l/