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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Johnson said the prorogation was necessary to start a new parliamentary session and to give time for the political parties' annual conferences. Max Foster, CNN, "A high-stakes Brexit court case could force the Queen to pick a side," 17 Sep. 2019 But following its eradication, scientists and public health officials felt research was still necessary and agreed to hold the smallpox virus in four locations across the world — the U.S., Russia, England and South Africa. Fox News, "Explosion at Russian research lab that stores smallpox virus: officials," 17 Sep. 2019 Too many things have to go right for the Mets to reach the 88-89 wins that will be necessary to win the second wild-card. Matt Martell, SI.com, "NL Wild-Card Reset: Can the Mets Pull Off a Minor Miracle?," 16 Sep. 2019 The airport chose September 7 to 27 to close it to avoid busy summer and year-end holiday travel seasons and make sure the weather was dry, which is necessary for asphalt paving. Mallory Moench, SFChronicle.com, "SFO runway construction: Questions and answers," 13 Sep. 2019 The action is necessary, Harada says, because the government is running out of storage. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Would Japan Dump Radioactive Water Into the Pacific Ocean?," 12 Sep. 2019 Learning to differentiate between when something is necessary or not is a goal of mine. Allison Glock, Marie Claire, "Kacey Musgraves Doesn't Want Your Permission," 11 Sep. 2019 According to John, the entourage effect is the idea that each of the cannabinoids and terpenes (aromatic essential oils) that are naturally present in cannabis plants are necessary to help medical patients reap the maximum benefits from the plant. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "Olivia Newton John Claims Cannabis Has "Helped Me Greatly" With Cancer Battle," 5 Sep. 2019 The royal monarchy is looking for someone interested in pursuing a hospitality career, but no previous housekeeping or hospitality experience is necessary for this position. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "The Queen Wants to Hire Her Own Personal Marie Kondo For Buckingham Palace," 29 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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.

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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

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Statistics for necessary

Last Updated

20 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for necessary

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

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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

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