Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “essential”

See all translations

essential

adjective  /ɪˈsen·ʃəl/ us  
extremely important or necessary: A knowledge of Spanish is essential for this job. Essential also means basic to the nature of someone or something: There is an essential difference between the two sisters in their approach to life.
essentially
adverb [not gradable]  /ɪˈsen·ʃə·li/ us  
Essentially she’s saying that she is not interested in seeing you again.

essential

noun [C usually pl]  /ɪˈsen·ʃəl/ us  
the basic things you need to live: The study estimated the cost of essentials for a family of four – its food, shelter, and clothing needs. Essentials are also the basic or most important part of something: the essentials of chemistry
(Definition of essential from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of essential?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “essential” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

illusion

an idea or belief that is not true

Word of the Day

Lies, lies, lies!

by Kate Woodford,
February 25, 2015
​​​ According to sociologists (=people who study the relationships between people living in groups), we are good at lying. As a species, we have developed a remarkable ability to deceive each other (= persuade each other that something false is true). Being able to say things that are not true can help with

Read More 

showrooming noun

February 23, 2015
the activity of examining a product in a physical store and then making the purchase with an online retailer Amazon’s new smartphone is specifically designed to make showrooming fast and easy.

Read More