Definition of indispensable in English:



  • Absolutely necessary.

    ‘he made himself indispensable to the parish priest’
    • ‘But protection from those whose direct intention is to kill the innocent is also indispensable.’
    • ‘For this reason, she did not have high status although she was indispensable.’
    • ‘The indispensable and vital elements of each and every conversion are made explicit in the experience of the dying thief.’
    • ‘But undoubtedly the agencies play an indispensable part in ensuring the survival of a people.’
    • ‘In short, as a guide to the new enemies of the left the book is absolutely indispensable.’
    • ‘After a night's sleep the news is as indispensable as the breakfast.’
    • ‘Greater equality is a moral imperative and an indispensable element in the battle to eliminate poverty.’
    • ‘Necessary in a democratic society does not mean indispensable; nor does it mean desirable.’
    • ‘Yet what makes this set truly indispensable is its array of extras.’
    • ‘So all kinds of managers see the brand as indispensable, benign magic.’
    • ‘They are indispensable only to themselves and their un-argued political careers.’
    • ‘Israel is absolutely indispensable to the Jewish identity of American Jews.’
    • ‘Absolutely indispensable, it is a must purchase for anyone interested in house or soul music.’
    • ‘As the UN turns sixty, the organisation is not irrelevant but indispensable.’
    • ‘Thus they became, in effect, extensions of the host itself - as indispensable as a vital organ.’
    • ‘The horse is an indispensable character to most stories of Chinese warriors.’
    • ‘This has made the need for computer literacy among the masses indispensable.’
    • ‘But there is an indispensable European dimension to national reform policies.’
    • ‘In the former case, this allowed the United States to make itself indispensable.’
    • ‘Time will tell, in the meantime, this is an indispensable account of the most vital saga in modern music.’
    essential, crucial, necessary, key, vital, 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


Mid 16th century (in the sense ‘not to be allowed or provided for by ecclesiastical dispensation’): from medieval Latin indispensabilis, from in- ‘not’ + dispensabilis (see dispensable).