General English


  • noun a concentrated oil extracted from a plant, used in food, cosmetics, analgesics and antiseptics


  • An extract of flavouring compounds usually from fruit or vegetable matter but occasionally from meat. The extractant is usually alcohol.


  • noun a concentrated plant extract containing its unique flavour and fragrance

Origin & History of “essence”

Essence and its derivative essential (14th c.) are the English descendants of the Latin verb ‘to be’, esse (which came ultimately from the Indo-European base *es- ‘be’, source also of English is). From it was formed the abstract noun essentia ‘being, existence’, acquired by English through Old French essence. In the adjective essential, the sense ‘absolutely necessary’ developed via ‘inherent’ and ‘indispensable’ in the 16th century.