Definition of essence in English:



  • 1The intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something, especially something abstract, that determines its character.

    ‘conflict is the essence of drama’
    • ‘We cared for our guests because not to do so would betray the most profound essence of our humanity.’
    • ‘The work of both artists is fuelled by a need to communicate the metaphysical essence of our existence.’
    • ‘They ended up capturing the true essence of the two of them.’
    • ‘And then sometimes, history is graced by an individual who comes and changes the very essence of humanity.’
    • ‘They were also worried that broadcasting the music through microphones would destroy the beauty and essence of the music.’
    • ‘The essence of chemistry is understanding and applying chemical reactions.’
    • ‘The chief aim of this inquiry has been to shed light on the nature and essence of the disagreement between the two.’
    • ‘Usually the design process involves taking messy reality and isolating its abstract essence.’
    • ‘To me they epitomize the essence of femininity.’
    • ‘Her portrayal of the sexy evangelist Reno Sweeney was outstanding, catching the very essence of this character.’
    • ‘She says the lack of time which GPs have to treat their patients is destroying the very essence of what it means to be a family doctor.’
    • ‘It is obvious that he does not understand the true essence of sport, or human nature.’
    • ‘It would succeed in destroying the very essence of what this village is about, its rich countryside heritage.’
    • ‘Such frivolous distinctions do not constitute the essence of religion.’
    • ‘The photographer is there to capture the true essence of the wedding day.’
    • ‘Analogies can obfuscate, but in their own way they can distill a matter to its essence.’
    • ‘The raucous, inscrutable essence of democracy could almost be glimpsed in this maelstrom.’
    • ‘Indeed, sometimes the real essence of truth is only to be discovered in the narrative form.’
    • ‘He had grasped the real essence of working class power.’
    • ‘The time has come for architecture and planning to reflect the essence of democracy.’
    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
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    1. 1.1Philosophy A property or group of properties of something without which it would not exist or be what it is.
      • ‘Do essences (or properties in general) exist in the physical world?’
      • ‘Whereas the immediate explanation of the actuality of Aristotle's substances lay in what they were essentially, that was not the case with Avicenna's essences, for their status was that of the merely possible.’
      • ‘The unnamed philosopher was indeed Locke, according to whom real essences made a thing what it was; it consisted of an item's internal structure.’
      • ‘As he later puts it, the study of categories is a study of essences, based in essential insights about the types of meanings and correlative types of things.’
      • ‘That is, items in all the categories are definable, so items in all the categories have essences - just as there is an essence of man, there is also an essence of white and an essence of musical.’
    2. 1.2 An extract or concentrate obtained from a particular plant or other matter and used for flavoring or scent.
      • ‘The secrets to the supple skin and healthy hair found on the islands: native plant and herb essences.’
      • ‘Add a few drops of almond essence to taste.’
      • ‘It's also rather delicious when you replace the vanilla essence with peppermint.’
      • ‘When choosing natural fragrances and products, look for ones with pure plant essences or essential oils (as listed on the label).’
      • ‘The Arabs recognized and refined these processes in the early Middle Ages, using them to make elixirs, perfumes, and medicines by extracting the essences from fruits and flowers.’
      • ‘When cool, mix the gelatine into the mixture slowly with the vanilla essence.’
      • ‘Add vanilla essence and serve in a pancake with chocolate sauce and cream.’
      • ‘Put some crushed ice into a food processor and add the guava juice, lime juice, blackcurrant syrup and rum essence.’
      • ‘It includes a variety flavoured with rose essence and sugar.’
      • ‘Beat the butter, sugar, ground almonds and almond essence together.’
      • ‘Lightly whip the cream and fold this in, along with the vanilla essence.’
      • ‘Whip the evaporated milk until frothy and then add the jelly, cheese, vanilla essence and lemon juice.’
      • ‘Cream butter and vanilla essence in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.’
      • ‘Last week she made a chocolate cake and sloshed a huge quantity of vanilla essence into it straight from the bottle.’
      • ‘Put one teaspoon of vanilla essence in the yolk and two teaspoons of baking powder into the egg white.’
      • ‘The addition of two drops of vanilla essence in the glasses masked the flavour of both the beverages.’
      • ‘Stir in a few drops of peppermint essence.’
      extract, concentrate, concentration, quintessence, distillate, elixir, abstraction, decoction, juice, tincture, solution, suspension, dilution
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Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin essentia, from esse be.