noun es·sence \ˈe-sən(t)s\

: the basic nature of a thing : the quality or qualities that make a thing what it is

: a substance that contains in very strong form the special qualities (such as the taste and smell) of the thing from which it is taken

Full Definition of ESSENCE

a :  the permanent as contrasted with the accidental element of being
b :  the individual, real, or ultimate nature of a thing especially as opposed to its existence <a painting that captures the essence of the land>
c :  the properties or attributes by means of which something can be placed in its proper class or identified as being what it is
:  something that exists :  entity
a (1) :  a volatile substance or constituent (as of perfume) (2) :  a constituent or derivative possessing the special qualities (as of a plant or drug) in concentrated form; also :  a preparation of such an essence or a synthetic substitute
b :  odor, perfume
:  one that possesses or exhibits a quality in abundance as if in concentrated form <she was the essence of punctuality>
:  the most significant element, quality, or aspect of a thing or person <the essence of the issue>
in essence
:  in or by its very nature :  essentially, basically <was in essence an honest person>
of the essence
:  of the utmost importance <time is of the essence>

Examples of ESSENCE

  1. The perennial debate about nature and nurture—which is the more potent shaper of the human essence?—is perennially rekindled. —Matt Ridley, Time, 2 June 2003

Origin of ESSENCE

Middle English essencia, from Latin essentia, from esse to be — more at is
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Fashion Terms

bodkin, chignon, cowlick, eau de toilette, imperial, pocket, pomander, tonsorial
ESSENCE Defined for Kids


noun es·sence \ˈe-səns\

Definition of ESSENCE for Kids

:  the basic part of something <Freedom is the essence of democracy.>
:  a substance made from a plant or drug and having its special qualities
:  1perfume 1
Medical Dictionary


noun es·sence \ˈes-ən(t)s\

Medical Definition of ESSENCE

:  a substance considered to possess in high degree the predominant qualities of a natural product (as a plant or drug) from which it is extracted (as by distillation or infusion)
a :  essential oil b :  an alcoholic solution especially of an essential oil <essence of peppermint> c :  an artificial preparation (as an alcoholic solution of one or more esters) used especially in flavoring d :  elixir


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