Definition of indispensable adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//ˌɪndɪˈspensəbl//
; NAmE NAmE//ˌɪndɪˈspensəbl//
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too important to be without synonym essential Cars have become an indispensable part of our lives. indispensable to somebody/something She made herself indispensable to the department. indispensable for something/for doing something A good dictionary is indispensable for learning a foreign language. opposite dispensable Synonymsessentialvital crucial critical decisive indispensableThese words all describe somebody/​something that is extremely important and completely necessary because a particular situation or activity depends on them.essential extremely important and completely necessary, because without it something cannot exist, be made or be successful:Experience is essential for this job.vital essential:The police play a vital role in our society.essential or vital?These words have the same meaning but there can be a slight difference in tone. Essential is used to state a fact or opinion with authority. Vital is often used when there is some anxiety felt about something, or a need to persuade somebody that a fact or opinion is true, right or important. Vital is less often used in negative statements:It was vital to show that he was not afraid. Money is not vital to happiness.crucial extremely important because a particular situation or activity depends on it:It is crucial that we get this right.critical extremely important because a particular situation or activity depends on it:Your decision is critical to our future.crucial or critical?These words have the same meaning but there can be a slight difference in context. Critical is often used in technical matters of business or science; crucial is often used to talk about matters that may cause anxiety or other emotions.decisive of the greatest importance in affecting the final result of a particular situation:She has played a decisive role in the peace negotiations.indispensable essential; too important to be without:Cars have become an indispensable part of our lives.Patterns essential/​vital/​crucial/​critical/​decisive/​indispensable for something essential/​vital/​crucial/​critical/​indispensable to something essential/​vital/​crucial/​critical that… essential/​vital/​crucial/​critical to do something a(n) essential/​vital/​crucial/​critical/​decisive/​indispensable part/​factor of vital/​crucial/​critical/​decisive importance absolutely essential/​vital/​crucial/​critical/​decisive/​indispensable Language BankvitalSaying that something is necessary It is vital that journalists can verify the accuracy of their reports. Journalists play a vital/crucial role in educating the public. Public trust is a crucial issue for all news organizations. The ability to write well is essential for any journalist. The Internet has become an indispensable tool for reporters. In journalism, accuracy is paramount/…is of paramount importance. It is imperative that journalists maintain the highest possible standards of reporting. Word Originmid 16th cent. (in the sense ‘not to be allowed or provided for by ecclesiastical dispensation’): from medieval Latin indispensabilis, from in- ‘not’ + dispensabilis (from Latin dispensare ‘continue to weigh out or disburse’, from the verb dispendere, based on pendere ‘weigh’).Extra examples These drugs are almost indispensable in the fight against the disease. Written sources are considered absolutely indispensable for today’s history teaching. skills which turned out to be indispensable to her career She made herself virtually indispensable to the department.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: indispensable