Meaning of ESSENTIAL in English


I. es ‧ sen ‧ tial 1 S3 W2 /ɪˈsenʃ ə l/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ essence , essentials ≠ ↑ inessentials ; adverb : ↑ essentially ; adjective : ↑ essential ≠ ↑ inessential ]

1 . extremely important and necessary

essential for/to

A good diet is essential for everyone.

it is essential (that)

It is essential that our pilots are given the best possible training.

it is essential to do something

It is essential to book in advance.

Window locks are fairly cheap and absolutely essential.

Even in small companies, computers are an essential tool.

2 . the essential part, quality, or feature of something is the most basic one SYN fundamental :

The essential difference between Sam and me was the fact that I took life seriously.

The essential point of relay racing is that it is a team effort.

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ nouns

▪ essential information

You can get essential travel information from the website.

▪ essential reading

The journal is essential reading for doctors.

▪ essential services (=organizations such as the police or the fire or health service)

The law prohibits workers in essential services from striking.

■ adverbs

▪ absolutely/really essential

It is absolutely essential to keep this information secret.

■ verbs

▪ be seen/regarded as essential

These measures are seen as essential for national security.

▪ be considered/deemed essential

During the summer, air conditioning is considered essential.

■ phrases

▪ play/perform an essential role in something

Antibiotics play an essential role in controlling infection.

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COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ nouns

▪ the essential element

Hard work is the essential element of his success.

▪ an essential ingredient

Most people believe that love is an essential ingredient in a marriage.

▪ an essential difference

The essential difference between the two boats lies in the design of the hull.

▪ the essential point

The essential point is that all children should have an equal opportunity to study.

▪ an essential feature

A free press is an essential feature of a democracy.

▪ an essential component

Controlling inflation is an essential component of the government’s economic strategy.

▪ the essential nature of something

The essential nature of stem cells is that they are the source of all other cells in the body.

• • •


▪ essential extremely important and necessary:

Water is essential for life.


The right to protest is an essential part of any democracy.


I missed out an essential ingredient.


They learn skills that are essential for success in later life.

▪ vital extremely important and necessary. Vital sounds stronger than essential :

His evidence was vital to the defence case.


Nurses and police officers provide vital services.


It is vital that leaking gas pipes are fixed immediately.

▪ crucial extremely important and making the difference between success and failure:

Advertising is crucial to successful bookselling.


The headteacher has played a crucial role in transforming this school.

▪ indispensable if someone or something is indispensable, you cannot do something without them and they are extremely useful:

She soon made herself indispensable in the office.


Mobile phones have become an indispensable part of our daily lives.

▪ something is a must informal used when recommending something to someone and saying that they should definitely have it, do it, visit it etc:

Virus checkers are a must for computer users concerned with security.


If you’re in Austria, a visit to Salzburg is a must.

II. essential 2 BrE AmE noun

1 . [countable usually plural] something that is necessary to do something or in a particular situation SYN necessity :

She packed a few essentials.

We only had the bare essentials (=the most necessary things) .

2 . the essentials [plural] the basic and most important information or facts about a particular subject

the essentials of

We have no reason to doubt the essentials of the girl’s story.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.