Hypertext Webster Gateway: "essential"

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Essential \Es*sen"tial\, a. [Cf. F. essentiel. See {Essence}.]
1. Belonging to the essence, or that which makes an object,
or class of objects, what it is.

Majestic as the voice sometimes became, there was
forever in it an essential character of
plaintiveness. --Hawthorne.

2. Hence, really existing; existent.

Is it true, that thou art but a a name, And no
essential thing? --Webster

3. Important in the highest degree; indispensable to the
attainment of an object; indispensably necessary.

Judgment's more essential to a general Than courage.

How to live? -- that is the essential question for
us. --H. Spencer.

4. Containing the essence or characteristic portion of a
substance, as of a plant; highly rectified; pure; hence,
unmixed; as, an essential oil. ``Mine own essential
horror.'' --Ford.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

adj 1: absolutely necessary; vitally necessary; "essential tools
and materials"; "funds essential to the completion of
the project"; "an indispensable worker" [syn: {indispensable}]
2: basic and fundamental; "the essential feature" [ant: {inessential}]
3: of the greatest importance; "the all-important subject of
disarmament"; "crucial information"; "in chess cool nerves
are of the essence" [syn: {all-important(a)}, {all
important(p)}, {crucial}, {of the essence(p)}]
4: being or relating to or containing the essence of a plant
etc; "essential oil"
5: (law) applying to essential legal principles and rules of
right; "substantive law" [syn: {substantive}] [ant: {adjective}]
6: absolutely required and not to be used up or sacrificed
n : anything indispensable; "food and shelter are necessities of
life"; "the essentials of the good life"; "allow farmers
to buy their requirements under favorable conditions"; "a
place where the requisites of water fuel and fodder can
be obtained" [syn: {necessity}, {requirement}, {requisite},
{necessary}] [ant: {inessential}]

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