- The definition of a need is a desire or requirement.
- An example of a need is the desire for a fast Internet connection.
- An example of a need is food and water for survival.
- Need is defined as to want, desire or require.
- An example of need is wanting a new pair of shoes because they're your favorite.
- An example of need is requiring a pair of shoes because you don't have any.
You need food and water to survive.
- necessity or obligation created by some situation: no need to worry
- a lack of something useful, required, or desired: to have need of a rest
- something useful, required, or desired that is lacking; want; requirement: list your daily needs
- a condition in which there is a deficiency of something, or one requiring relief or supply: a friend in need
- a condition of poverty, or extreme want
Origin of needMiddle English nede ; from Old English nied, akin to German not, Gothic nauths ; from Indo-European an unverified form neuti- ; from base an unverified form neu-, to collapse with weariness from source Welsh newyn, starvation
- Archaic to be necessary; chiefly in impersonal constructions: it needs not
- to be in need
have need to
if need be
- A condition or situation in which something must be supplied in order for a certain condition to be maintained or a desired state to be achieved: crops in need of water; a child's need for affection.
- Something required or wanted; a requisite: “Those of us who led the charge for these women's issues &ellipsis; shared a common vision in the needs of women” (Olympia Snowe).
- Necessity; obligation: There is no need for you to go.
- A condition of poverty or misfortune: The family is in dire need.
verbneed·ed, need·ing, needs
- To have need of; require: The family needs money. We need to get some more paint.
- To have an obligation (to do something): You need to clean up your room.
- To be subject (to an action) by obligation: Bags need to be stowed underneath the seat in front of you.
- To want to be subject to: We don't need another lecture on the subject.
- To be in need or want.
- To be necessary.
Origin of needMiddle English nede, from Old English nēod, nēd, distress, necessity. Usage Note: Depending on the sense, the verb need behaves sometimes like an auxiliary verb (such as can or may) and sometimes like a main verb (such as want or try). When used as a main verb, need agrees with its subject, takes to before the verb following it, and combines with do in questions, negations, and certain other constructions: He needs to go. Does he need to go so soon? He doesn't need to go. When used as an auxiliary verb, need does not agree with its subject, does not take to before the verb following it, and does not combine with do: He needn't go. Need he go so soon? The auxiliary forms of need are used primarily in present-tense questions, negations, and conditional clauses. Unlike can and may, auxiliary need has no form for the past tense like could and might. • When need is used as the main verb, it can be followed by a present participle, as in The car needs washing, or by to be plus a past participle, as in The car needs to be washed. However, in some areas of the United States, especially western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, many speakers omit to be and use just the past participle form, as in The car needs washed. This use of need with past participles is more common in the British Isles, being particularly prevalent in Scotland.
- (countable and uncountable) A requirement for something.
- There's no need to speculate; we can easily find out for sure.
- She grew irritated with his constant need for attention.
- Our needs are not being met.
- Something required.
- I've always tried to have few needs beyond food, clothing and shelter.
- Lack of means of subsistence; poverty; indigence; destitution.
- Adjectives often used with "need": urgent, dire, desperate, strong, unmet, bad, basic, critical, essential, big, terrible, modest, elementary, daily, everyday, special, educational, environmental, human, personal, financial, emotional, medical, nutritional, spiritual, public, developmental, organizational, legal, fundamental, audio-visual, psychological, corporate, societal, psychosocial, functional, additional, caloric, private, monetary, physiological, mental.
From Middle English need, nede, partly from Old English nīed, nēad (“necessity, inevitableness, need, urgent requirement, compulsion, duty; errand, business; difficulty, hardship, distress, trouble, pain; violence, force”), from Proto-Germanic *naudiz, *nauþiz (“need, trouble, force, distress, compulsion, fate, destiny”), from Proto-Indo-European *nAut- (“torment, misfortune”), from Proto-Indo-European *nāw- (“the dead, corpse”); and partly from Old English nēod (“desire, longing; zeal, eagerness, diligence, earnestness, earnest endeavor; pleasure, delight”), from Proto-Germanic *neudō, *neudaz (“wish, urge, desire, longing”), from Proto-Indo-European *new- (“to incline, tend, move, push, nod, wave”). Cognate with Scots nede (“need”), North Frisian nud (“hardship, danger, fear, self-defense, compulsion, control”), West Frisian need (“need”), Dutch nood (“need, want, distress, peril”), Low German noot (“need”), German Not (“need, distress, necessity, hardship”), Danish nød (“distress, need, necessity”), Swedish nöd (“distress, need, necessity, want”), Icelandic neyð, nauð (“distress, emergency, need”), North Frisian njoe (“requirement, foredeal, benefit, convenience”), Middle Low German nüt (“desire, need, longing”), Middle High German niet (“longing, desire, eagerness, zeal”), German niedlich (“desirable, appealing, lovely, cute”). More at needly. Old norse nauð(r) ("powerty,distress, lack of")
(third-person singular simple present needs, present participle needing, simple past and past participle needed)
- To have an absolute requirement for.
- Living things need water to survive.
- To want strongly; to feel that one must have something.
- After ten days of hiking, I needed a shower and a shave.
- (modal verb) To be obliged or required (to do something).
- You need not go if you don't want to.
- (intransitive) To be required; to be necessary.
- The verb need is construed in a few different ways:
- With a direct object, as in “I need your help.”
- With a to-infinitive, as in “I need to go.” Here, the subject of need serves implicitly as the subject of the infinitive.
- With a clause of the form “for [object] to [verb phrase]”, or simply “[object] to [verb phrase]” as in “I need for this to happen” or “I need this to happen.” In both variants, the object serves as the subject of the infinitive.
- As a modal verb, with a bare infinitive; in negative polarity contexts, such as questions (“Need I say more?”), with negative expressions such as not (“It need not happen today”; “No one need ever know”), and with similar constructions (“There need only be a few”; “it need be signed only by the president”; “I need hardly explain the error”). Need in this use does not have inflected forms, aside from the contraction needn’t.
- With a gerund-participle, as in “The car needs washing”, or (in certain dialects) with a past participle, as in “The car needs washed” (both meaning roughly “The car needs to be washed”).
- With a direct object and a predicative complement, as in “We need everyone here on time” (meaning roughly “We need everyone to be here on time”) or “I need it gone” (meaning roughly “I need it to be gone”).
- In certain dialects, and colloquially in certain others, with an unmarked reflexive pronoun, as in “I need me a car.”
- A sentence such as “I need you to sit down” or “you need to sit down” is more polite than the bare command “sit down”, but less polite than “please sit down”. It is considered somewhat condescending and infantilizing, hence dubbed by some “the kindergarten imperative”, but is quite common in American usage.