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Essence

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1. The intrinsic or indispensable properties that serve to characterize or identify something.
2. The most important ingredient; the crucial element.
3. The inherent, unchanging nature of a thing or class of things.
4.
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.
5. One that has or shows an abundance of a quality as if highly concentrated: a neighbor who is the essence of hospitality.
6. Something that exists, especially a spiritual or incorporeal entity.

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 accident [4]
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. (Christian Religious Writings / Theology) Theol an immaterial or spiritual entity
6. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / 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
in essence essentially; fundamentally
of the essence indispensable; vitally important

Source

www.thefreedictionary.com