adjective nec·es·sary \ˈne-sə-ˌser-ē\

: so important that you must do it or have it : absolutely needed

: unable to be changed or avoided

Full Definition of NECESSARY

:  absolutely needed :  required
a :  of an inevitable nature :  inescapable
b (1) :  logically unavoidable
(2) :  that cannot be denied without contradiction
c :  determined or produced by the previous condition of things
d :  compulsory

Examples of NECESSARY

  1. Is it really necessary for me to have surgery?
  2. The threat of a thunderstorm made it necessary to cancel the picnic.
  3. It's not necessary to wear a tie.
  4. Food is necessary for life.
  5. We had all the necessary ingredients.
  6. She took the medicine only when absolutely necessary.
  7. Higher prices are a necessary consequence of the company's new services.
  8. Some say that Hvorostovsky's Don Giovanni lacks the necessary menace; others find that he tosses his mane about too flamboyantly. —Francine Du Plessix Gray, New Yorker, 22 Sept. 2003


Middle English necessarie, from Latin necessarius, from necesse necessary, probably from ne- not + cedere to withdraw — more at no
First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with NECESSARY

actuary, adversary, airy-fairy, ancillary, antiquary, apiary, arbitrary, aviary, axillary, bacillary, beriberi, bestiary, biliary, black raspberry, Bloody Mary, boysenberry, breviary, budgetary, calamari, calamary, candleberry, Canterbury, capillary, carpellary, cassowary, catenary, cautionary, cavitary, cemetery, centenary, certiorari, checkerberry, chinaberry, cometary, commentary, commissary, condottiere, coralberry, corollary, coronary, culinary, customary, dictionary, dietary, dignitary, dromedary, dysentery, elderberry, emissary, estuary, farkleberry, February, formulary, fragmentary, fritillary, functionary, funerary, honorary, huckleberry, intermarry, janissary, January, lamasery, lapidary, lectionary, legendary, legionary, lingonberry, literary, loganberry, luminary, mammillary, mandatary, maxillary, medullary, mercenary, miliary, military, millenary, milliary, millinery, missionary, momentary, monastery, mortuary, ordinary, ossuary, partridgeberry, pensionary, pigmentary, planetary, Pondicherry, prebendary, presbytery, pulmonary, quaternary, red mulberry, reliquary, rowanberry, salivary, salmonberry, salutary, sanctuary, sanguinary, sanitary, secondary, secretary, sedentary, seminary, silverberry, solitary, sour cherry, stationary, stationery, statuary, subcontrary, sublunary, sugarberry, sumptuary, syllabary, temporary, tertiary, thimbleberry, Tipperary, Tom and Jerry, topiary, tributary, tutelary, Typhoid Mary, unitary, urinary, vestiary, Virgin Mary, visionary, voluntary, vulnerary, Waterbury, whortleberry, winterberry


noun nec·es·sary \ˈne-sə-ˌser-ē\

necessaries : things (such as food, a place to live, and clothing) that you must have : necessary things

the necessary : whatever is needed for some purpose

plural nec·es·sar·ies

Full Definition of NECESSARY

:  an indispensable item :  essential

Examples of NECESSARY

  1. <a modest income that provided the family with only the necessaries of life>
  2. I thoroughly understand you, cried Mrs. Norris, … My dear Sir Thomas, with all my faults I have a warm heart; and, poor as I am, would rather deny myself the necessaries of life than do an ungenerous thing. —Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, 1814


(see 1necessary)
First Known Use: 14th century


Next Word in the Dictionary: necessary conditionPrevious Word in the Dictionary: necessarinessAll Words Near: necessary
May 22, 2015
nepotism Hear it
favoritism based on kinship
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears