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 uk   /ɪˈsen.ʃəl/ us  
B1 necessary or needed: Government support will be essential if the project is to succeed. There is essential work to be done before the building can be re-occupied. Water is essential for/to living things. It is essential (that) our prices remain competitive. [+ to infinitive] For the experiment to be valid, it is essential to record the data accurately.
More examples

essential

noun [C usually plural] uk   /ɪˈsen.ʃəl/ us  
a basic thing that you cannot live without: Because I live in a remote village, I regard my car as an essential. When we go on holiday, we only take the bare essentials. This leaflet will give you the essentials of how to prepare for a hurricane.
(Definition of essential from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of essential?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

More meanings of “essential”

Definitions of “essential” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

justice

fairness in the way people are dealt with

Word of the Day

A certain je ne sais quoi: French words and phrases used in English

by Liz Walter,
January 21, 2015
It is an odd irony that the more sophisticated your use of English is, the more likely you are to use French words and phrases. Or, to be more accurate, ones you know to be French – words such as ballet, au pair, abattoir, fiancé, café, and restaurant are so entrenched in

Read More 

flower beard noun

January 19, 2015
a beard adorned with flowers And some of said beard-rockers are even turning it up a notch, painting trend on top of trend with what’s come to be known as ‘the flower beard.’

Read More