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adjective nec·es·sary \ˈne-sə-ˌser-ē\

Simple Definition of necessary

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

  • : unable to be changed or avoided

Full Definition of necessary

  1. 1 :  absolutely needed :  required

  2. 2 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. 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

  2. From the very outset the eminence of this new creature, the intellectual, … was inseparable from his necessary indignation. —Tom Wolfe, Harper's, June 2000

  3. Our most cataclysmic moments are typically free of gravitas, of necessary thunder; a person dies, but instead of the sky darkening and lightning striking, the sun continues to shine and the birds to sing. —Alain de Botton, Harper's, October 1998

  4. Is it really necessary for me to have surgery?

  5. The threat of a thunderstorm made it necessary to cancel the picnic.

  6. It's not necessary to wear a tie.

  7. Food is necessary for life.

  8. We had all the necessary ingredients.

  9. She took the medicine only when absolutely necessary.

  10. Higher prices are a necessary consequence of the company's new services.

Origin of necessary

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\

Simple Definition of necessary

  • 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

Full Definition of necessary

plural nec·es·sar·ies

  1. :  an indispensable item :  essential

Examples of necessary

  1. “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

  2. I took up the two officers in my hands, put them first into my coat-pockets, and then into every other pocket about me, except my two fobs, and another secret pocket I had no mind should be searched, wherein I had some little necessaries that were of no consequence to any but myself. —Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, 1726

  3. <a modest income that provided the family with only the necessaries of life>

Origin of necessary

(see 1necessary)

First Known Use: 14th century

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February 14, 2016

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