1 vitally important; absolutely necessary
2 basic; fundamental
the essential feature
3 completely realized; absolute; perfect
4 (Biochem) (of an amino acid or a fatty acid) necessary for the normal growth of an organism but not synthesized by the organism and therefore required in the diet
5 derived from or relating to an extract of a plant, drug, etc.
an essential oil
6 (Logic) (of a property) guaranteed by the identity of the subject; necessary. Thus, if having the atomic number 79 is an essential property of gold, nothing can be gold unless it has that atomic number
7 (Music) denoting or relating to a note that belongs to the fundamental harmony of a chord or piece
8 (Pathol) (of a disease) having no obvious external cause
9 (Geology) (of a mineral constituent of a rock) necessary for defining the classification of a rock. Its absence alters the rock's name and classification
10 something fundamental or indispensable
a sharp eye is an essential for a printer
11 (Music) an essential note
n (Biochem) any chemical element required by an organism for healthy growth. It may be required in large amounts (see macronutrient) or in very small amounts (see trace element)
n any of various volatile organic oils present in plants, usually containing terpenes and esters and having the odour or flavour of the plant from which they are extracted: used in flavouring and perfumery
See also →
English Collins Dictionary - English Definition & Thesaurus
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"Collins English Dictionary 5th Edition first published in 2000 © HarperCollins Publishers 1979, 1986, 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000 and Collins A-Z Thesaurus 1st edition first published in 1995 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995"