Essence Es"sence, n. [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. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

The laws are at present, both in form and essence, the greatest curse that society labors under. --Landor. [1913 Webster]

Gifts and alms are the expressions, not the essence of this virtue [charity]. --Addison. [1913 Webster]

The essence of Addison's humor is irony. --Courthope. [1913 Webster]

3. Constituent substance. [1913 Webster]

And uncompounded is their essence pure. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

4. A being; esp., a purely spiritual being. [1913 Webster]

As far as gods and heavenly essences Can perish. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

He had been indulging in fanciful speculations on spiritual essences, until . . . he had and ideal world of his own around him. --W. Irving. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

6. Perfume; odor; scent; or the volatile matter constituting perfume. [1913 Webster]

Nor let the essences exhale. --Pope. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • essence — [ esɑ̃s ] n. f. • 1130; lat. philos. essentia I ♦ Philos. Ce qui constitue la nature d un être. 1 ♦ Philos. (opposé à accident) Fond de l être, nature intime des choses. ⇒ nature, substance. L essence des choses. L essence humaine. « Nous ne… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • essence — es·sence / es əns/ n 1: the real or ultimate nature of a thing: the properties that make a thing what it is his award is legitimate only so long as it draws its essence from the collective bargaining agreement United Steel Workers v. Enterprise… …   Law dictionary

  • essence — Essence. s. f. v. Ce par quoy la chose est ce qu elle est, ce qui constituë la chose. L essence divine. l essence des choses. l essence de l homme est d estre animal raisonnable. ces paroles sont de l essence du sacrement. Essence, signifie parmi …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • essence — ► NOUN 1) the intrinsic nature of something; the quality which determines something s character. 2) an extract or concentrate obtained from a plant or other substance and used for flavouring or scent. ● in essence Cf. ↑in essence ● of the essence …   English terms dictionary

  • essence — late 14c., essencia (respelled late 15c. on French model), from L. essentia being, essence, abstract noun formed in imitation of Gk. ousia being, essence (from on, gen. ontos, prp. of einai to be ), from essent , prp. stem of esse to be, from PIE …   Etymology dictionary

  • essence — [es′əns] n. [ME < OFr & L essentia < esse, to be: for IE base see IS1] 1. something that is, or exists; entity 2. that which makes something what it is; intrinsic, fundamental nature or most important quality (of something); essential being …   English World dictionary

  • essence — [n1] heart, significance aspect, attribute, backbone, base, basis, be all and endall*, being, bottom, bottom line*, burden, caliber, character, chief constituent, constitution, core, crux, element, entity, essentia, essentiality, fiber, form,… …   New thesaurus

  • Essence — Es sence, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Essenced}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Essencing}.] To perfume; to scent. Essenced fops. Addison. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Essence — (fr., spr. Essangs), so v.w. Essenz, s.d.; z.B. E. de Mirhane, s.u. Bittermandelöl. E. d Orient (spr. Essangs d Oriang), ein in Chalons fur Saȏne fabricirter Perlenglanz zu Glasperlen …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Essence — (franz., spr. āngß ), Essenz (s.d.); E. d Orient, E. de perles, soviel wie Perlenessenz; E. de Mirbane, s. Nitrobenzol …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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