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
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
The laws are at present, both in form and
essence, the greatest curse that society labors
Gifts and alms are the expressions, not the
essence of this virtue [charity].
The essence of Addison's humor is
3. Constituent substance.
And uncompounded is their essence
4. A being; esp., a purely spiritual
As far as gods and heavenly essences 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.
Es"sence, v. t. [imp. & p.
p. Essenced (?); p. pr. & vb. n.
Essencing (?).] To perfume; to scent.
"Essenced fops." Addison.