Need Definition

needed, needs
Necessity or obligation created by some situation.
No need to worry.
Webster's New World
Something useful, required, or desired that is lacking; want; requirement.
List your daily needs.
Webster's New World
A lack of something useful, required, or desired.
To have need of a rest.
Webster's New World
A condition characterized by hardship or serious deficiency.
Flood victims in need of food and shelter.
Webster's New World
A condition of poverty, or extreme want.
Webster's New World
needed, needs
To be necessary; chiefly in impersonal or subjunctive constructions.
He need not worry.
Webster's New World
To be under the necessity of or the obligation to.
They need not come. You needn't be concerned.
American Heritage
To be in need.
Webster's New World
To have an obligation (to do something).
You need to clean up your room.
American Heritage
To have need of; want or lack; require.
He need not come, he needs to be careful.
Webster's New World
  • do with
  • be up against it
  • be hard up
  • be down and out
  • feel-the-pinch
  • live from hand to mouth
  • not approach
  • go hungry
  • be deficient in
  • have need for
  • have use for
  • feel a dearth
  • be inadequate
  • be-short
  • be destitute
have need to
  • to be compelled or required to; must
Webster's New World
if need be
  • if it is required; if the occasion demands
Webster's New World

Other Word Forms of Need



Idioms, Phrasal Verbs Related to Need

Origin of Need

  • From Middle English need, nede, partly from Old English nÄ«ed, nÄ“ad (“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 nÄ“od (“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")

    From Wiktionary

  • Middle English nede from Old English nēod, nēd distress, necessity

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Middle English neden, from Old English nÄ“odian.

    From Wiktionary

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