1

necessary

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adjective nec·es·sary \ˈne-sə-ˌser-ē\

Definition of necessary

  1. 1 :  absolutely needed :  required Food is necessary for life.

  2. 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 contradictionc :  determined or produced by the previous condition of things the necessary outcome of the affaird :  compulsory Taking the oath of obedience is necessary.

Examples of necessary in a sentence

  1. 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

  2. From the very outset the eminence of this new creature, the intellectual,  … was inseparable from his necessary indignation. —Tom Wolfe, Harper's, June 2000

  3. 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

  4. Is it really necessary for me to have surgery?

  5. The threat of a thunderstorm made it necessary to cancel the picnic.

  6. It's not necessary to wear a tie.

  7. Food is necessary for life.

  8. We had all the necessary ingredients.

  9. She took the medicine only when absolutely necessary.

  10. Higher prices are a necessary consequence of the company's new services.

Origin and Etymology of necessary

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


First Known Use: 14th century


2

necessary

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noun nec·es·sary \ˈne-sə-ˌser-ē\

Definition of necessary

plural

necessaries

  1. :  an indispensable item :  essential

Examples of necessary in a sentence

  1. “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

  2. 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

  3. a modest income that provided the family with only the necessaries of life

Origin and Etymology of necessary

see 1necessary


First Known Use: 14th century



NECESSARY Defined for English Language Learners

1

necessary

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adjective nec·es·sary \ˈne-sə-ˌser-ē\

Definition of necessary for English Language Learners

  • : so important that you must do it or have it : absolutely needed

  • : unable to be changed or avoided


2

necessary

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noun nec·es·sary \ˈne-sə-ˌser-ē\

Definition of necessary for English Language Learners

  • 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 Defined for Kids

1

necessary

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adjective nec·es·sary \ˈne-sə-ˌser-ē\

Definition of necessary for Students

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

necessarily

\ˌne-sə-ˈser-ə-lē\ adverb

2

necessary

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noun nec·es·sary

Definition of necessary for Students

plural

necessaries

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



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