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English Dictionary: essential by the DICT Development Group
2 results for essential
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:
essential
adj
  1. absolutely necessary; vitally necessary; "essential tools and materials"; "funds essential to the completion of the project"; "an indispensable worker"
    Synonym(s): essential, indispensable
  2. basic and fundamental; "the essential feature"
    Antonym(s): inessential, unessential
  3. of the greatest importance; "the all-important subject of disarmament"; "crucial information"; "in chess cool nerves are of the essence"
    Synonym(s): all-important(a), all important(p), crucial, essential, of the essence(p)
  4. being or relating to or containing the essence of a plant etc; "essential oil"
  5. defining rights and duties as opposed to giving the rules by which rights and duties are established; "substantive law"
    Synonym(s): substantive, essential
    Antonym(s): adjective, procedural
n
  1. anything indispensable; "food and shelter are necessities of life"; "the essentials of the good life"; "allow farmers to buy their requirements under favorable conditions"; "a place where the requisites of water fuel and fodder can be obtained"
    Synonym(s): necessity, essential, requirement, requisite, necessary
    Antonym(s): inessential, nonessential
From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) [web1913]:
   Essential \Es*sen"tial\, a. [Cf. F. essentiel. See {Essence}.]
      1. Belonging to the essence, or that which makes an object,
            or class of objects, what it is.
  
                     Majestic as the voice sometimes became, there was
                     forever in it an essential character of
                     plaintiveness.                                    --Hawthorne.
  
      2. Hence, really existing; existent.
  
                     Is it true, that thou art but a a name, And no
                     essential thing?                                 --Webster
                                                                              (1623).
  
      3. Important in the highest degree; indispensable to the
            attainment of an object; indispensably necessary.
  
                     Judgment's more essential to a general Than courage.
                                                                              --Denham.
  
                     How to live? -- that is the essential question for
                     us.                                                   --H. Spencer.
  
      4. Containing the essence or characteristic portion of a
            substance, as of a plant; highly rectified; pure; hence,
            unmixed; as, an essential oil. [bd]Mine own essential
            horror.[b8] --Ford.
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