Definition of esse in US English:



  • Essential nature or essence.

    ‘two traditions, each of whose esse is opposition to the central tenets of the other’
    See also in esse
    • ‘Essence is the intrinsic limitation of esse, the crystallization of existence, bordered by nothingness.’
    • ‘We see here clearly how Thomas has appropriated Plato's thought for his own ‘existential’ (in the sense of esse) purposes.’
    • ‘As potential to, and receptive of esse, essence is thus a principle through which and in which a thing exists.’
    quintessence, soul, spirit, ethos, nature, life, lifeblood, core, heart, centre, crux, nub, nucleus, kernel, marrow, meat, pith, gist, substance, principle, central part, fundamental quality, basic quality, essential part, intrinsic nature, sum and substance, reality, actuality
    View synonyms


Latin, ‘to be’ (used as a noun).