essence


Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

es·sence

(ĕs′əns)
n.
1.
a. The intrinsic or indispensable quality or qualities that serve to characterize or identify something: The essence of democracy is the freedom to choose.
b. Philosophy The inherent, unchanging nature of a thing or class of things, especially as contrasted with its existence.
2. The most important part or aspect of something: The essence of her argument is that the policy is wrongheaded.
3.
a. An extract that has the fundamental properties of a substance in concentrated form.
b. Such an extract in a solution of alcohol.
c. A perfume or scent.
4. One that has or shows an abundance of a quality as if highly concentrated: a neighbor who is the essence of hospitality.
5. Something that exists, especially a spiritual or incorporeal entity.
Idioms:
in essence
By nature; essentially: He is in essence a reclusive sort.
of the essence
Of the greatest importance; crucial: Time is of the essence.

[Middle English essencia and French essence, both from Latin essentia, from esse, to be, from the presumed present participle *essēns, *essent- (on the model of differentia, difference, from differēns, different-, present participle of differre, to differ), created to translate Greek ousiā (from ousa, feminine present participle of einai, to be) ; see es- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

essence

(ˈɛsəns)
n
1. the characteristic or intrinsic feature of a thing, which determines its identity; fundamental nature
2. the most distinctive element of a thing: the essence of a problem.
3. a perfect or complete form of something, esp a person who typifies an abstract quality: he was the essence of gentility.
4. (Philosophy) philosophy
a. the unchanging and unchangeable nature of something which is necessary to its being the thing it is; its necessary properties. Compare accident4
b. the properties in virtue of which something is called by its name
c. the nature of something as distinct from, and logically prior to, its existence
5. (Theology) theol an immaterial or spiritual entity
6. (Botany)
a. the constituent of a plant, usually an oil, alkaloid, or glycoside, that determines its chemical or pharmacological properties
b. an alcoholic solution of such a substance
7. (Chemistry) a substance, usually a liquid, containing the properties of a plant or foodstuff in concentrated form: vanilla essence.
8. a rare word for perfume
9. in essence essentially; fundamentally
10. of the essence indispensable; vitally important
[C14: from Medieval Latin essentia, from Latin: the being (of something), from esse to be]

es•sence

(ˈɛs əns)

n.
1. the basic, real, and invariable nature of a thing; substance.
2. a concentrated substance obtained from a plant, drug, or the like, by distillation, infusion, etc.
3. an alcoholic solution of an essential oil; spirit.
4. a perfume; scent.
5. (in philosophy) the true nature or constitution of anything, as opposed to what is accidental, phenomenal, illusory, etc.
6. something that exists, esp. a spiritual or immaterial entity.
Idioms:
1. in essence, essentially; basically.
2. of the essence, absolutely essential; crucial.
[1350–1400; Middle English essencia < Medieval Latin, for Latin essentia, irreg. derivative of esse to be]

Essence

 

in a nutshell Concisely, tersely, pithily; briefly, simply, in few words; containing much of substance in a small space, as nutmeat within a nutshell. Nutshell as representative of conciseness has been in use since the 17th century; the phrase in a nutshell since shortly thereafter.

A great complex argument, which … cannot by any ingenuity … be packed into a nutshell. (John Henry Newman, Grammar of Assent, 1870)

nature of the beast The essence of a person or thing; human nature; the qualities and characteristics common to human beings and other animals. This expression combines nature ‘essential qualities or properties’ and beast ‘any animal,’ implying that there is a certain crudeness common to all animals, both human and nonhuman. It is often used in the context of explaining or excusing the behavior of someone who acts or has acted in an inappropriate or boorish manner. Such usage is illustrated in a 1683 letter by Jules Verney:

I’m very sorry [that] John my coachman should be so great a clown to you … but ‘tis the nature of the beast. (Letters and Papers of the Verney Family, 1899)

In recent years, the usage of nature of the beast has been extended to describe the negative qualities often inherent in inanimate objects, bureaucratic systems, and other matters.

part and parcel An integral or essential component; a vital part of a larger entity. In this expression, common since the 14th century, part and parcel are synonymous, their juxtaposition serving to emphasize the importance of a given constituent to the whole.

The places referred to are, for all intents and purposes, part and parcel of the metropolis. (John McCulloch, A Descriptive and Statistical Account of the British Empire, 1846)

sixty-four-dollar question The crux of the matter; the basic or critically important question; the remaining unknown whose answer would provide the ultimate solution of a problem. This expression refers to the prize awarded for correctly answering the last and most difficult in a series of questions asked of a contestant on “Take It or Leave It,” a popular radio quiz show in the 1940s. With the advent of television, the stakes were raised considerably in “The $64,000 Question” (1955-58), giving rise to the updated variation, sixty-four-thousand-dollar question.

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.essence - the choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience; "the gist of the prosecutor's argument"; "the heart and soul of the Republican Party"; "the nub of the story"
cognitive content, mental object, content - the sum or range of what has been perceived, discovered, or learned
bare bones - (plural) the most basic facts or elements; "he told us only the bare bones of the story"
hypostasis - (metaphysics) essential nature or underlying reality
haecceity, quiddity - the essence that makes something the kind of thing it is and makes it different from any other
quintessence - the purest and most concentrated essence of something
stuff - a critically important or characteristic component; "suspense is the very stuff of narrative"
2.essence - any substance possessing to a high degree the predominant properties of a plant or drug or other natural product from which it is extracted
substance - the real physical matter of which a person or thing consists; "DNA is the substance of our genes"
3.essence - the central meaning or theme of a speech or literary work
meaning, signification, import, significance - the message that is intended or expressed or signified; "what is the meaning of this sentence"; "the significance of a red traffic light"; "the signification of Chinese characters"; "the import of his announcement was ambiguous"
4.essence - a toiletry that emits and diffuses a fragrant odoressence - a toiletry that emits and diffuses a fragrant odor
cologne water, eau de cologne, cologne - a perfumed liquid made of essential oils and alcohol
pachouli, patchouli, patchouly - a heavy perfume made from the patchouli plant
perfumery - perfumes in general
potpourri - a jar of mixed flower petals and spices used as perfume
rose water - perfume consisting of water scented with oil of roses
toilet articles, toiletry - artifacts used in making your toilet (washing and taking care of your body)
eau de toilette, toilet water - a perfumed liquid lighter than cologne

essence

noun
1. fundamental nature, nature, being, life, meaning, heart, spirit, principle, soul, core, substance, significance, entity, bottom line, essential part, kernel, crux, lifeblood, pith, quintessence, basic characteristic, quiddity Some claim that Ireland's very essence is expressed through its language.
2. concentrate, spirits, extract, elixir, tincture, distillate Add a few drops of vanilla essence.
of the essence vitally important, essential, vital, critical, crucial, key, indispensable, of the utmost importance Time is of the essence with this project.

essence

noun
1. A basic trait or set of traits that define and establish the character of something:
2. The most central and material part:
Law: gravamen.
Translations
جَوْهَرخُلاصَه
=-ekstrakt=-essensekstraktessensvæsentlige
esanssiolemusperusolemus
kivonat
kjarni, innsta eîlikraftur
esencija
būtībaesencegalvenais
esencia
bistvo

essence

[ˈesəns] N
1.esencia f
the essence of the matter islo esencial del asunto es ...
in essenceen lo esencial
time is of the essenceel tiempo es primordial
2. (= extract) → esencia f, extracto m

essence

[ˈɛsəns] n
(= essential feature) → essence f
(= importance) to be of the essence → être essentiel(le)
Speed is of the essence → La rapidité est essentielle.
in essence adv (= basically) → en substance
(= concentrated liquid) → essence f vanilla essence

essence

n
(Philos) → Wesen nt, → Essenz f; (= substratum)Substanz f
(= most important quality)Wesen nt, → Wesentliche(s) nt, → Kern m; in essence the theories are very similardie Theorien sind im Wesentlichen or in ihrem Kern or essenziell (geh)or essentiell (geh)sehr ähnlich; how would you describe the situation, in essence?wie würden Sie die Situation im Wesentlichen beschreiben?; speed/time is of the essenceGeschwindigkeit/Zeit ist von entscheidender Bedeutung; the essence of his thoughtder Kern or die Essenz seines Denkens; the note contained the essence of what he had saiddie Notiz enthielt den Kern dessen, was er gesagt hatte; he embodies the very essence of Japanese spiriter verkörpert den Inbegriff des japanischen Geistes; the novel captures the essence of life in the cityder Roman fängt das Leben in der Stadt perfekt ein; the essence of Liberalismdie Essenz des Liberalismus
(= extract: Chem, Cook) → Essenz f

essence

[ˈɛsns] n (gen) (Culin) → essenza
in essence → in sostanza
speed is of the essence → la velocità è di estrema importanza

essence

(ˈesns)
1. the most important part or quality. Tolerance is the essence of friendship.
2. a substance obtained from a plant, drug etc. vanilla essence.

es·sence

n. esencia, cualidad indispensable.
References in classic literature ?
And there is an absolute beauty and an absolute good, and of other things to which the term `many' is applied there is an absolute; for they may be brought under a single idea, which is called the essence of each.
Concerning each of which many seem to have fallen into very great errors; for by invention, I believe, is generally understood a creative faculty, which would indeed prove most romance writers to have the highest pretensions to it; whereas by invention is really meant no more (and so the word signifies) than discovery, or finding out; or to explain it at large, a quick and sagacious penetration into the true essence of all the objects of our contemplation.
As long as he followed the fixed definition of obscure words such as SPIRIT, WILL, FREEDOM, ESSENCE, purposely letting himself go into the snare of words the philosophers set for him, he seemed to comprehend something.
This is what that poor woman said to me, almost word for word; and such a deep, refined, truly religious thought it was--a thought in which the whole essence of Christianity was expressed in one flash--that is, the recognition of God as our Father, and of God's joy in men as His own children, which is the chief idea of Christ.
I experienced that feeling of love which is the very essence of the soul and does not require an object.
It is indeed unmanageable, but the essence of it is not a battle.
Who would think, then, that such fine ladies and gentlemen should regale themselves with an essence found in the inglorious bowels of a sick whale
However it is done, it is certain that a beam of heat is the essence of the matter.
Fourth among the elements enumerated comes Diction; by which I mean, as has been already said, the expression of the meaning in words; and its essence is the same both in verse and prose.
when thy tired limbs were fain to keep The purple cerements of sleep, Thy dim beloved form Passed from the sunshine warm, From the corrupting earth, that sought to hold Its beauty, to the essence of pure gold.
These two points were of the very essence of sailing tactics, and these two points have been eliminated from the modern tactical problem by the changes of propulsion and armament.
For it is a thousand times more credible, that four mutable elements, and one immutable fifth essence, duly and eternally placed, need no God, than that an army of infinite small portions, or seeds unplaced, should have produced this order and beauty, without a divine marshal.