Advertisement

indispensable (adj.)

1530s, "not subject to dispensation," from Medieval Latin *indispensabilis, from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + dispensabilis, from Latin dispensare "disburse, administer, distribute (by weight)" (see dispense). Meaning "necessary" is from 1690s. From 17c. into 19c. often spelled indispensible, but modern dictionaries considered this improper.

As a noun, "indispensable thing," from 1794; c. 1800-1810, after French use, it was the name of a type of pocket bag worn by women. indispensables (1820) also was one of the many 1820s jocular euphemisms for "trousers" (see inexpressible). Related: Indispensably.

Others are reading

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of indispensable

indispensable (adj.)
not to be dispensed with; essential;
foods indispensable to good nutrition
indispensable (adj.)
absolutely necessary; vitally necessary;
an indispensable worker
Synonyms: essential
indispensable (adj.)
unavoidable;
the routine but indispensable ceremonies of state
From wordnet.princeton.edu