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Alternative forms[edit]


From Late Latin essentiālis, from Latin essentia (being, essence).


  • IPA(key): /ɪˈsɛn.ʃəl/, [əˈsɛn.tʃəl]
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: es‧sen‧tial


essential (comparative more essential, superlative most essential)

  1. Necessary.
    Synonyms: indispensable; see also Thesaurus:requisite
    Antonyms: accidental, accessorial, incidental, unnecessary, unneeded
  2. Very important; of high importance.
    Synonyms: crucial; see also Thesaurus:important
    Antonyms: unimportant; see also Thesaurus:insignificant
    • 2013 May 17, George Monbiot, “Money just makes the rich suffer”, in The Guardian Weekly[1], volume 188, number 23, page 19:
      In order to grant the rich these pleasures, the social contract is reconfigured. The welfare state is dismantled. Essential public services are cut so that the rich may pay less tax. […]
  3. (biology) necessary for survival but not synthesized by the organism, thus needing to be ingested
  4. Being in the basic form; showing its essence.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:intrinsic, Thesaurus:bare-bones
    Antonyms: adscititious; see also Thesaurus:extrinsic
    Don’t mind him being grumpy. That’s the essential Fred.
  5. Really existing; existent.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:existent
    Antonyms: see Thesaurus:inexistent
  6. (geometry) Such that each complementary region is irreducible, the boundary of each complementary region is incompressible by disks and monogons in the complementary region, and no leaf is a sphere or a torus bounding a solid torus in the manifold.
    (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  7. (medicine) Idiopathic.


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


essential (plural essentials)

  1. A necessary ingredient.
  2. A fundamental ingredient.
    (Can we add an example for this sense?)

Related terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]