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Webster 1913 Edition


Essence

Es′sence

,
Noun.
[F.
essence
, L.
essentia
, formed as if fr. a p. pr. of
esse
to be. See
Is
, and cf.
Entity
.]
1.
The constituent elementary notions which constitute a complex notion, and must be enumerated to define it; sometimes called the nominal essence.
2.
The constituent quality or qualities which belong to any object, or class of objects, or on which they depend for being what they are (distinguished as real essence); the real being, divested of all logical accidents; that quality which constitutes or marks the true nature of anything; distinctive character; hence, virtue or quality of a thing, separated from its grosser parts.
The laws are at present, both in form and
essence
, the greatest curse that society labors under.
Landor.
Gifts and alms are the expressions, not the
essence
of this virtue [charity].
Addison.
The
essence
of Addison’s humor is irony.
Courthope.
3.
Constituent substance.
And uncompounded is their
essence
pure.
Milton.
4.
A being; esp., a purely spiritual being.
As far as gods and heavenly
essences

Can perish.
Milton.
He had been indulging in fanciful speculations on spiritual
essences
, until . . . he had and ideal world of his own around him.
W. Irving.
5.
The predominant qualities or virtues of a plant or drug, extracted and refined from grosser matter; or, more strictly, the solution in spirits of wine of a volatile or essential oil;
as, the
essence
of mint, and the like
.
The . . . word
essence
. . . scarcely underwent a more complete transformation when from being the abstract of the verb “to be,” it came to denote something sufficiently concrete to be inclosed in a glass bottle.
J. S. Mill.
6.
Perfume; odor; scent; or the volatile matter constituting perfume.
Nor let the
essences
exhale.
Pope.

Es′sence

,
Verb.
T.
[
imp. & p. p.
Essenced
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Essencing
.]
To perfume; to scent.
Essenced fops.”
Addison.

Webster 1828 Edition


Essence

ES'SENCE

,
Noun.
[L. essentia, esse, to be.]
1.
That which constitutes the particular nature of a being or substance, or of a genus, and which distinguishes it from all others.
Mr. Locke makes a distinction between nominal essence and real essence. The nominal essence, for example, of gold, is that complex idea expressed by gold; the real essence is the constitution of its insensible parts, on which its properties depend, which is unknown to us.
The essence of God bears no relation to place.
2.
Formal existence; that which makes any thing to be what it is; or rather, the peculiar nature of a thing; the very substance; as the essence of christianity.
3.
Existence; the quality of being.
I could have resigned my very essence.
4.
A being; an existent person; as heavenly essences.
5.
Species of being.
6.
Constituent substance; as the pure essence of a spirit. [Locke's real essence, supra.]
7.
The predominant qualities or virtues of any plant or drug, extracted, refined or rectified from grosser matter; or more strictly, a volatile essential oil; as the essence of mint.
8.
Perfume, odor,scent; or the volatile matter constituting perfume.
Nor let th' imprisoned essences exhale.

ES'SENCE

,
Verb.
T.
To perfume; to scent.

Definition 2022


essence

essence

English

Noun

essence (countable and uncountable, plural essences)

  1. The inherent nature of a thing or idea.
    • Landor
      The laws are at present, both in form and essence, the greatest curse that society labours under.
    • Addison
      Gifts and alms are the expressions, not the essence of this virtue [charity].
    • Courthorpe
      The essence of Addison's humour is irony.
  2. (philosophy) The true nature of anything, not accidental or illusory.
  3. Constituent substance.
    • Milton
      Uncompounded is their essence pure.
  4. A being; especially, a purely spiritual being.
    • Milton
      As far as gods and heavenly essences / Can perish.
    • Washington Irving
      He had been indulging in fanciful speculations on spiritual essences, until [] he had an ideal world of his own around him.
  5. A significant feature of something.
  6. The concentrated form of a plant or drug obtained through a distillation process.
    • essence of Jojoba
  7. Fragrance, a perfume.
    • Alexander Pope
      Nor let the essences exhale.

Synonyms

Derived terms

Related terms

Translations

External links

  • essence in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
  • essence in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911

Anagrams


French

Etymology

From Old French, from Latin essentia. Sense 2 very likely from Latin edō (present infinitive edere or ēsse, perfect active ēdī, supine ēsum); irregular conjugation (eat), in the sense of 'what is eaten, fuel'. Many forms of the latter are indistinguishable from the former, and so the confusion with 'essence' is very understandable.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /esɑ̃s/

Noun

essence f (plural essences)

  1. (philosophy, theology) essence
  2. petrol, gasoline
  3. essence, essential oil

Anagrams