February 09, 2019
essential (adjective)
\ih-SEN-shul\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : forming or belonging to the essence2 : containing or having the character of an easily evaporated essence3 : important in the highest degree : necessary
How do you use it?
"‘There is something I feel I should discuss with you very candidly and openly--something that concerns your future. We need not range over the whole spectrum of bird life but just confine our talk to one essential thing that is before us on this unusual occasion.'" (E. B. White, _The Trumpet of the Swan_)
Are you a word wiz?

Which of these words do you think has essentially the same meaning as "essential"?

"Essential" and "fundamental," as well as "vital," mean so important as to be indispensable. "Essential" implies belonging to the very nature of a thing and therefore being incapable of removal without destroying the thing itself or its character. ("Food is essential to life.") "Fundamental" applies to something that is a foundation without which an entire system or complex whole would collapse. ("To learn abstract algebra, you must understand the fundamental principles of elementary algebra.") "Vital" suggests something that is necessary to a thing's continued existence or operation. ("The heart and lungs are vital organs.")
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