- (philosophy) The view that objects have properties that are essential to them.
- (sociology) The view that all members of certain groups of people (such as those with the same race, gender, age, or sexual orientation) have common, essential traits inherent to the defining feature of the group; (also) behavior or statement(s) that reflect such a view.
- (education) The doctrine that there are certain traditional concepts, values, and skills that are essential to society and should be taught to all students.
- A lifestyle that seeks to minimize nonessentials in order to focus on what is important.
- (philosophy) The theory that human beings are by nature (i.e. essentially) good and that evil is the product of society.