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 lighting is greatly in excess of what is necessary. WSJ, "Trooper Deaths and LED Lights That are Too Bright," 12 Apr. 2019 The Navy says the delay is necessary to resolve issues with the ship’s nuclear propulsion system and elevators designed to lift munitions up to the hangar. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Navy’s Newest Aircraft Carrier Is Delayed, Yet Again," 28 Mar. 2019 These 10 expert recommendations make tattoos totally vanish — no lasers necessary. Allure, "The Best Makeup to Cover Up Tattoos, According to Professional Makeup Artists," 23 Mar. 2019 For Santo Domingo, fresh flowers are her most necessary indulgence. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "How One Celebrity Florist Brings Flowers into the Home for Spring," 19 Mar. 2019 But certainly one of the goals was to have the ability to remove an unstable or unfit president from office if it was deemed necessary for the sake of the country. Sean Illing, Vox, "Can the 25th Amendment be invoked to remove Trump from office? I asked one of its authors.," 14 Feb. 2019 Sometimes conservative treatments aren’t enough to resolve some of the above conditions, in which case surgical intervention may be necessary. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "What the Hell Is a Sitz Bath? (And Why Would You Take One?)," 14 Mar. 2019 The vast majority of the world’s gold miners have yet to join the wave of mergers reshaping the top of their sector, even as investors say more tie-ups are necessary amid poor returns and depreciating gold reserves. Ben Dummett, WSJ, "Investors Are Still Waiting for a Gold-Mining Merger Wave," 13 Mar. 2019 Hospitalization is necessary in severe cases, but even after checking out, patients need lots of rest and plenty of fluids. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Here's Why It's Taking Whoopi Goldberg Weeks to Recover From Pneumonia, According to Doctors," 8 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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

Statistics for necessary

Last Updated

19 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for necessary

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

See more words from the same century

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

to move or proceed with twists and turns

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!