essential

Essential means very basic or necessary. A good frying pan is one of a short list of kitchen essentials every cook must have. To prevent fires, it's essential to turn off appliances before leaving the house.

The adjective essential is often followed by to or that: It is essential to wash your hands. It is essential that you dry them after. This adjective is from Middle English essencial, from Late Latin essentialis, from Latin essentia "the basic nature of a thing, its essence" plus the Latin suffix -alis "relating to."

Definitions of essential
  1. adjective
    basic and fundamental
    “the essential feature”
    Synonyms:
    crucial, important
    of extreme importance; vital to the resolution of a crisis
    basal, primary
    of primary importance
    biogenic
    essential for maintaining the fundamental life processes
    constituent, constitutional, constitutive, organic
    constitutional in the structure of something (especially your physical makeup)
    must
    highly recommended
    no-frills
    characterized by the absence of inessential features
    staple
    necessary or important, especially regarding food or commodities
    substantial, substantive
    having a firm basis in reality and being therefore important, meaningful, or considerable
    virtual
    existing in essence or effect though not in actual fact
    life-sustaining, vital
    performing an essential function in the living body
    indispensable
    not to be dispensed with; essential
    unexpendable
    not suitable to be expended
    important, of import
    of great significance or value
    intrinsic, intrinsical
    belonging to a thing by its very nature
    necessary
    absolutely essential
    primary
    of first rank or importance or value; direct and immediate rather than secondary
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    Antonyms:
    inessential, unessential
    not basic or fundamental
    accessorial
    nonessential but helpful
    adscititious
    supplemental; not part of the real or essential nature of a thing
    incidental, nonessential
    not of prime or central importance
    dispensable
    capable of being dispensed with or done without
    expendable
    suitable to be expended
    unimportant
    not important
    extrinsic
    not forming an essential part of a thing or arising or originating from the outside
    unnecessary, unneeded
    not necessary
    secondary
    being of second rank or importance or value; not direct or immediate
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  2. adjective
    absolutely necessary; vitally necessary
    essential tools and materials”
    “funds essential to the completion of the project”
    synonyms: indispensable
    necessary
    absolutely essential
  3. adjective
    of the greatest importance
    synonyms: all important, all-important, crucial, of the essence
    important, of import
    of great significance or value
  4. noun
    anything indispensable
    “the essentials of the good life”
    synonyms: necessary, necessity, requirement, requisite
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    Antonyms:
    inessential, nonessential
    anything that is not essential
    types:
    desideratum
    something desired as a necessity
    must
    a necessary or essential thing
    need, want
    anything that is necessary but lacking
    type of:
    thing
    a separate and self-contained entity
  5. adjective
    being or relating to or containing the essence of a plant etc
    essential oil”
  6. adjective
    defining rights and duties as opposed to giving the rules by which rights and duties are established
    synonyms: substantive
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    Antonyms:
    adjective, procedural
    relating to court practice and procedure as opposed to the principles of law
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