in essence

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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.
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.
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.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend: essence - with regard to fundamentals although not concerning details; "in principle, we agree"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
At the Neue Nationalgalerie, he was given carte blanche to realize his vision, and the "city" he chose to create was not a utopian collective like the Lidlstadt but instead what is in essence a giant display case for his own production.
In essence, the original procurement would consist of two separate awards, and as negotiated, the small business contractor would be allowed a 5 percent cost advantage over the large business contractor.
Many African American readers first met the work of Alice Walker, Toni Morrison and Edwidge Danticat in Essence's pages, which have also been a nurturing proving ground for fiction writers like Bebe Moore Campbell and Terry McMillan.