necessary

adjective
nec·​es·​sary | \ ˈne-sə-ˌser-ē How to pronounce necessary (audio) \

Definition of necessary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : absolutely needed : required Food is necessary for life.
2a : of an inevitable nature : inescapable Death is a necessary feature of the human condition.
b(1) : logically unavoidable a necessary conclusion
(2) : that cannot be denied without contradiction
c : determined or produced by the previous condition of things the necessary outcome of the affair
d : compulsory Taking the oath of obedience is necessary.

necessary

noun
nec·​es·​sary | \ ˈne-sə-ˌser-ē How to pronounce necessary (audio) \
plural necessaries

Definition of necessary (Entry 2 of 2)

: an indispensable item : essential

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of necessary in a Sentence

Adjective 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 From the very outset the eminence of this new creature, the intellectual,  … was inseparable from his necessary indignation. — Tom Wolfe, Harper's, June 2000 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 Is it really necessary for me to have surgery? The threat of a thunderstorm made it necessary to cancel the picnic. It's not necessary to wear a tie. Food is necessary for life. We had all the necessary ingredients. She took the medicine only when absolutely necessary. Higher prices are a necessary consequence of the company's new services. Noun "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 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 a modest income that provided the family with only the necessaries of life
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The coaches praised the parents of their students and the booster clubs – the Athletic Club for football, Tip-Off Club for basketball and Diamond Club for baseball – for handling lots of the details necessary to keep the teams on track. al, "Titletown, AL: Fyffe on a roll with football, hoops crowns, baseball perfect so far," 7 Apr. 2021 Only the amount of water necessary to stabilize the situation will be discharged. WSJ, "Florida Reservoir: How a Flood Was Averted at Piney Point Phosphate Plant," 7 Apr. 2021 McKenna is one such player, though his addition was made necessary by Austin Hays’ hamstring injury. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "Early debuts gives Orioles head start on answering a key question: Who should be part of their future? | ANALYSIS," 7 Apr. 2021 While some experts advise against having the original card laminated, so that booster shots of vaccine can be added if that becomes necessary, others say that's OK because a more sophisticated record-keeping system is likely be in place by then. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, "You've been vaccinated. So what should you do with your vaccine card?," 7 Apr. 2021 Republicans say these bills are necessary to maintain safe and secure elections. Alana Abramson, Time, "Marc Elias Fought Trump's 2020 Election Lawsuits. Can He Win The Battle Over Voting Rights?," 6 Apr. 2021 All of these developments are placing increasingly stringent demands on the computing power and throughput speeds necessary to successfully power 5G networks. Bob O'donnell, Forbes, "Intel Strengthens 5G Network Infrastructure Offerings," 6 Apr. 2021 In the wild, plants send pollen grains to ride the water or wind, or develop flowers with the colors, fragrances, or nectars necessary to attract pollinators—all in order to send their genes far afield to mix with one another. Justina Blakeney, House Beautiful, "Justina Blakeney on the Magic of Mixing Cultures," 6 Apr. 2021 The researchers didn’t actually study the toxins necessary to label a species as venomous. Chris Smith, BGR, "A new study says humans might have the genetic capability to spit venom," 5 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Tramontana trotted downstairs, grabbed the necessaries and made the carbonara — but the experience lingered. Amy Drew Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "Instagram helps Orlando area chefs fill seats," 11 Oct. 2019 Everyday necessaries such as Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco have missed time, too. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc's Morning Line: Here's why the U.S. women's soccer World Cup team did the right thing," 13 June 2019 The large, refrigerated trailer has fruits, veggies and meat — the necessaries that make up a balanced diet. Ben Brazil, latimes.com, "Park-It Market will provide free food to low-income seniors throughout Orange County," 10 May 2018 Everyday necessaries such as Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco have missed time, too. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc's Morning Line: Here's why the U.S. women's soccer World Cup team did the right thing," 13 June 2019 The large, refrigerated trailer has fruits, veggies and meat — the necessaries that make up a balanced diet. Ben Brazil, latimes.com, "Park-It Market will provide free food to low-income seniors throughout Orange County," 10 May 2018 Across the way, a 10-year-old mucks out a stall, taking on all the necessaries in caring for her calf. Sharon Hoffmann And Dan Kelly, kansascity, "Chickens, cows and merry-go-round horses: Your guide to county fair season," 13 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'necessary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of necessary

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for necessary

Adjective and Noun

Middle English necessarie, from Latin necessarius, from necesse necessary, probably from ne- not + cedere to withdraw — more at no

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about necessary

Time Traveler for necessary

Time Traveler

The first known use of necessary was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for necessary

Last Updated

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Necessary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/necessary. Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for necessary

necessary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of necessary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: so important that you must do it or have it : absolutely needed
formal : unable to be changed or avoided

necessary

noun

English Language Learners Definition of necessary (Entry 2 of 2)

: things (such as food, a place to live, and clothing) that you must have : necessary things
British, informal : whatever is needed for some purpose

necessary

adjective
nec·​es·​sary | \ ˈne-sə-ˌser-ē How to pronounce necessary (audio) \

Kids Definition of necessary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: needing to be had or done : essential Food is necessary to life. I got the necessary work done first.

Other Words from necessary

necessarily \ ˌne-​sə-​ˈser-​ə-​lē \ adverb

necessary

noun
plural necessaries

Kids Definition of necessary (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is needed We left a good stock of … medicines, and some other necessaries— Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on necessary

What made you want to look up necessary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!