Definition of essentialism
a belief that things have a set of characteristics that make them what they are, and that the task of science and philosophy is their discovery and expression; the doctrine that essence is prior to existence. Compare with existentialism. the view that all children should be taught on traditional lines the ideas and methods regarded as essential to the prevalent culture. the view that categories of people, such as women and men, or heterosexuals and homosexuals, or members of ethnic groups, have intrinsically different and characteristic natures or dispositions.