Definition of essential in US English:

essential

adjective

  • 1Absolutely necessary; extremely important.

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

    ‘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.’
    • ‘He also had chronic obstructive airways disease and essential hypertension.’

noun

usually essentials
  • 1A thing that is absolutely necessary.

    ‘we had only the bare essentials in the way of gear’
    • ‘We specialise in supplying all the holiday essentials you need for your holiday, trips and travel.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Lack of access to these essentials is generally referred to as living in extreme or abject poverty.’
    • ‘Fuel, in the form of food, is one of the three essentials that your body needs to stay alive.’
    • ‘Fears of another tsunami have since subsided and survivors focused on finding life's essentials.’
    • ‘People have been buying essentials in anticipation of imminent cuts in electricity and water supplies.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Cleanliness, punctuality, order and method are essentials in the character of a good housekeeper.’
    • ‘Reports that well-planned vegetarian diets are deficient in essentials are false.’
    • ‘And I drink lots of water and milk, so it's not like I'm lacking vitamins and essentials.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Hidden under the wrap is a free hanging zippered pocket to carry life's essentials.’
    • ‘In about two weeks, we packed just the bare essentials and left our home forever.’
    • ‘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.’
    necessity, essential item, necessary item, prerequisite, requisite, requirement, need
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    1. 1.1essentials The fundamental elements or characteristics of something.
      ‘he was quick to grasp the essentials of an opponent's argument’
      • ‘The story is told by Michelangelo's pupil and biographer Condivi and is therefore presumably true in essentials.’
      • ‘There's a story that illustrates the importance of recognizing those essentials.’
      • ‘He himself had grasped the essentials of Jewish teaching.’
      • ‘Interest in whether the essentials of being human are given to us by nature or by nurture has a long pedigree.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Communal forces thrive on the crass ignorance of the masses concerning the essentials of their faith.’
      • ‘They saw it as an abandonment of the essentials of the faith.’
      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

/əˈsen(t)SHəl//əˈsɛn(t)ʃəl/