Definition of necessity
1 : the quality or state of being necessary <He questioned the necessity for the change.>
2a : pressure of circumstance <The plane was compelled by necessity to change its course.>b : physical or moral compulsion <did it, not because he wanted to, but by necessity>c : impossibility of a contrary order or condition <submittimg to the necessity imposed by the physical laws of the universe>
3 : the quality or state of being in need; especially : poverty <had come to help them in their necessity>
4a : something that is necessary : requirement <Many families could not afford the bare necessities of life.>b : an urgent need or desire <When his father collapsed, an ambulance became a necessity.>
: in such a way that it cannot be otherwise; also : as a necessary consequence <further changes will occur of necessity>
Examples of necessity in a sentence
Sunscreen is an absolute necessity for the beach.
food, clothes, and other basic necessities
Getting plenty of rest is a necessity.
Without a car, living close to work is a necessity.
All we took with us on our hiking trip were the bare necessities.
Origin and Etymology of necessity
Middle English necessite, from Anglo-French necessité, from Latin necessitat-, necessitas, from necesse
First Known Use: 14th century
NECESSITY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of necessity for English Language Learners
: something that you must have or do : something that is necessary
: the quality of being necessary
NECESSITY Defined for Kids
Definition of necessity for Students
1 : the state of things that forces certain actions <The necessity of eating forced her to work.>
2 : very great need <Call us for help in case of necessity.>
3 : the state of being in need : poverty <I am forced by necessity to beg.>
4 : something that is badly needed <He bought a few necessities before his trip.>
Legal Definition of necessity
1a : the presence or pressure of circumstances that justify or compel a certain course of action; especially : a need to respond or react to a dangerous situation by committing a criminal act b : an affirmative defense originating in common law that the defendant had to commit a criminal act because of the pressure of a situation that threatened a harm greater than that resulting from the act — see also choice of evils defense at defense 2a — compare duress, undue influence
2 : something that is necessary especially to subsistence <obligated to provide the necessities of food, clothing, and shelter>
Seen and Heard
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