Meaning of ESSENTIAL in English
/ ɪˈsenʃl; NAmE / adjective , noun
essential (to / for sth) | essential (to do sth) | essential (that ... ) completely necessary; extremely important in a particular situation or for a particular activity
SYN vital :
an essential part / ingredient / component of sth
Money is not essential to happiness.
Experience is essential for this job.
essential services such as gas, water and electricity
The museum is closed while essential repairs are being carried out.
It is essential to keep the two groups separate
It is essential that you have some experience.
Even in small companies, computers are an essential tool.
—compare inessential , non-essential
[ only before noun ] connected with the most important aspect or basic nature of sb/sth
SYN fundamental :
The essential difference between Sara and me is in our attitude to money.
The essential character of the town has been destroyed by the new road.
■ noun [ usually pl. ]
something that is needed in a particular situation or in order to do a particular thing :
I only had time to pack the bare essentials (= the most necessary things) .
The studio had all the essentials like heating and running water.
an important basic fact or piece of knowledge about a subject :
the essentials of English grammar
vital ♦ crucial ♦ critical ♦ decisive ♦ indispensable
These words all describe sb/sth that is extremely important and completely necessary because a particular situation or activity depends on them.
extremely important and completely necessary, because without it sth cannot exist, be made or be successful:
Experience is essential for this job.
The police play a vital role in our society.
essential or vital?
There is no real difference in meaning between these words and they can be used with the same range of nouns and structures. However, there can be a slight difference in tone. Essential is used to state a fact or opinion with authority. Vital is often used when there is some anxiety felt about sth, or a need to persuade sb that a fact or opinion is true, right or important. Vital is less often used in negative statements:
It was vital to show that he was not afraid.
• Money is not vital to happiness.
extremely important because a particular situation or activity depends on it:
It is crucial that we get this right.
extremely important because a particular situation or activity depends on it :
Your decision is critical to our future.
crucial or critical?
There is no real difference in meaning between these words and they can be used with the same range of nouns and structures. However, there is sometimes a slight difference in context. Critical is often used in technical matters of business or science; crucial is often used to talk about matters that may cause anxiety or other emotions.
of the greatest importance in affecting the final result of a particular situation :
She has played a decisive role in the peace negotiations.
essential; too important to be without:
Cars have become an indispensable part of our lives.
PATTERNS AND COLLOCATIONS :
essential / vital / crucial / critical / decisive / indispensable for sth
essential / vital / crucial / critical / indispensable to sth
essential / vital / crucial / critical that...
essential / vital / crucial / critical to do sth
to be / become / seem essential / vital / crucial / critical / decisive / indispensable
a(n) essential / vital / crucial / critical / decisive / indispensable part / factor
of vital / crucial / critical / decisive importance
absolutely / really essential / vital / crucial / critical / decisive / indispensable
Middle English (in the sense in the highest degree ): from late Latin essentialis , from Latin essentia , from esse be.
Oxford Advanced Learner's English Dictionary. Оксфордский английский словарь для изучающик язык на продвинутом уровне. 2005