WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
es•sen•tial /əˈsɛnʃəl/USA pronunciation   adj. 
  1. absolutely necessary;
    that cannot be done without;
    indispensable:essential vitamins. Water is essential for life.[it + be + ~ + (that) clause]It is essential that you be at the meeting.
  2. relating to the essence of a thing:[before a noun]The essential purpose of a vacation is to relax.

n. [countable]
  1. a basic or necessary element;
    chief point:an essential of the job is promptness.
  2. a basic or necessary item or thing:bare essentials like food and water.
es•sen•tial•ly, adv. 

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
es•sen•tial  (ə senshəl),USA pronunciation adj. 
  1. absolutely necessary;
    indispensable:Discipline is essential in an army.
  2. pertaining to or constituting the essence of a thing.
  3. noting or containing an essence of a plant, drug, etc.
  4. being such by its very nature or in the highest sense;
    spontaneous:essential happiness.
  5. Mathematics
    • (of a singularity of a function of a complex variable) noting that the Laurent series at the point has an infinite number of terms with negative powers.
    • (of a discontinuity) noting that the function is discontinuous and has no limit at the point. Cf. removable (def. 2).

  1. a basic, indispensable, or necessary element;
    chief point:Concentrate on essentials rather than details.
es•sential•ly, adv. 
es•sential•ness, n. 
  • Medieval Latin essenciālis for Late Latin essentiālis. See essence, -al1
  • Middle English essencial 1300–50
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged fundamental, basic, inherent, intrinsic, vital. See  necessary. 
    • 2.See corresponding entry in Unabridged Essential, inherent, intrinsic refer to that which is in the natural composition of a thing.
      Essential suggests that which is in the very essence or constitution of a thing:Oxygen and hydrogen are essential in water.Inherent means inborn or fixed from the beginning as a permanent quality or constituent of a thing:properties inherent in iron.Intrinsic implies belonging to the nature of a thing itself, and comprised within it, without regard to external considerations or accidentally added properties:the intrinsic value of diamonds.
    • 2.See corresponding entry in Unabridged incidental, extraneous, extrinsic;

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

essential /ɪˈsɛnʃəl/ adj
  1. vitally important; absolutely necessary
  2. basic; fundamental
  3. completely realized; absolute; perfect
  4. (of an amino acid or a fatty acid) necessary for the normal growth of an organism but not synthesized by the organism and therefore required in the diet
  5. derived from or relating to an extract of a plant, drug, etc: an essential oil
  6. (of a disease) having no obvious external cause: essential hypertension
  1. something fundamental or indispensable

essentiality /ɪˌsɛnʃɪˈælɪtɪ/, esˈsentialness n

'essential' also found in these entries:
Collocations: the [daily, travel, weekly] essentials, the essentials of the [job, plan, argument], just [take, bring, pack] the essentials, more...

Forum discussions with the word(s) "essential" in the title:

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