Alternative formsEdit


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 termsEdit


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 termsEdit


Further readingEdit