necessary

adjective
nec·​es·​sary | \ ˈne-sə-ˌser-ē \

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 \
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

Workers from the two industries bring dissimilar but equally necessary skill sets and expectations, health-industry officials and advisers say. Jared S. Hopkins, WSJ, "E-commerce Expertise Comes to Health Startup Turnaround," 5 Jan. 2019 Toss mushrooms and fennel with vinegar, season with salt and pepper if necessary and then fold in radicchio. Serve with chicken, topped with parsley if desired. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Orange-Ginger Roast Chicken with Fennel and Radicchio Salad," 27 Nov. 2018 In an email on May 7, the FBI said the ballistics report was complete, but that the necessary Freedom of Information Act paperwork would first need to be filed. Shannon Butler And Jason Kelly, ajc, "Pulse shooting victim's mother pressing for FBI ballistics report," 13 July 2018 He's also threatened 10 percent tariffs on an additional $200 billion in the near term and yet another $200 billion if necessary. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Trade wars are damaging, so why is Trump fighting one with China?," 13 July 2018 At the time of writing, short shorts had just a 51 percent majority over bike shorts—making the lesson here that shorts of any kind are still as necessary as ever. Vogue, "The Best Fashion Trends of 2018, According to You, Our Instagram Followers," 18 Dec. 2018 Using a drone was especially necessary in delivering the drugs to Nowai. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Drone-Delivered Vaccines Are Launching a New Era of Health Aid," 18 Dec. 2018 Once experts predict a potential outbreak, who funds the necessary preventive and containment measures? Mallory Locklear, Discover Magazine, "With Big Data and Predictive Analytics, Scientists Are Getting Smarter About Outbreaks," 8 Nov. 2018 Because yes, silobrating the fifteenth anniversary of something with such a magnificent evolution is absolutely necessary. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "There’s A Romantic Story Behind Chip And Joanna Gaines’s Original Magnolia Sign," 22 Oct. 2018

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.

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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

11 Jan 2019

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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

: unable to be changed or avoided

necessary

noun

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

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

necessary

adjective
nec·​es·​sary | \ ˈne-sə-ˌser-ē \

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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