- necessary; needed; required
- Archaic needy
An example of needful is taking a pencil to a test.
- Necessary; required: needful repairs.
- Being in need of something: “The mother … is attracted, distracted, needful of the outside world just when the child requires her to be focused, steady, home” ( Anne Roiphe )
(comparative more needful, superlative most needful)
Commonly found in phrases such as "do the needful" or "please do the needful"; which occur commonly in Indian English but are held as archaic in other dialects; nonetheless being heard more and more by speakers of said dialects in their interactions with speakers of Indian English. This has to some extent lead to these phrases being seen as stereotypical of Indian English and used in a parodying context by speakers of other dialects, some of whom may find their usage odd and/or pretentious.
From Middle English needeful, nedeful, equivalent to need +"Ž -ful.
- At length granted the needful dispensation.
- He believed, however, that calm discussion was the only thing needful to carry every change, and from the beginning to the end of his career he deprecated every approach to violence.
- One thing was needful - the temple.
- They had to furnish the crown with nearly all the ships and men that were needful for the state; and for a long time after they were required to give large assistance to the permanent fleet.
- The business of the divorce - or rather, of the legitimation of Anne Boleyn's expected issue - had now become very urgent, and in the new archbishop he had an agent who might be expected to forward it with the needful haste.