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

State officials say the danger of Eastern equine encephalitis being spread by mosquitoes has gotten so high in a section of Southeastern Massachusetts that aerial insecticide spraying is necessary. Maria Lovato, BostonGlobe.com, "22 communities at high risk from mosquito-borne virus; Mass. to spray insecticide," 6 Aug. 2019 Scouting officials have fought hard in court to keep the files from public view, contending that confidentiality was necessary to protect victims, witnesses and anyone falsely accused. Kim Christensen, Los Angeles Times, "Boy Scouts face new allegations of sex abuse by ‘hidden predators’," 6 Aug. 2019 Church officials have argued building a new plant is necessary and will be better for the environment. Wilborn P. Nobles Iii, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore County urges ‘no discharge’ as church seeks Little Gunpowder Falls wastewater plant," 6 Aug. 2019 But Republicans say these policies were necessary to keep Texans safe and maintain the integrity of our elections, and there's no connection between them or the rhetoric to the gunman's actions. Gromer Jeffers Jr., Dallas News, "Democrats say anti-Hispanic tone set by Trump, Texas lawmakers creates 'toxic environment'," 5 Aug. 2019 Epigenetics, the study of which genes within a person’s DNA actually get expressed and how that translation occurs, are necessary to truly understand how genetic differences may influence real people. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Huge study explores genetics of PTSD in more than 165,000 U.S. veterans," 5 Aug. 2019 For these purposes, and in these times, an organization of all doctors is necessary. Eric Topol, The New Yorker, "Why Doctors Should Organize," 5 Aug. 2019 But that wasn’t before Modi was able to leverage jingoistic rhetoric for his re-election campaign, pledging to do all that was necessary to protect India — and stoking tensions over Kashmir. Billy Perrigo, Time, "The Indian Government Is Revoking Kashmir's Special Status. Here's What That Means," 5 Aug. 2019 It is hoped that the expansion of Crissy Marsh into Quartermaster Reach will improve hydrology enough that dredging of the outlet channel to the bay will no longer be necessary. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "On the edge of SF’s Presidio, restoring a watershed will benefit nature and humans," 5 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 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

9 Aug 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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