\ ˈnēd How to pronounce need (audio) \

Definition of need

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : necessary duty : obligation no need to apologize the need to pay taxes— Peter Scott
2a : a lack of something requisite, desirable, or useful a building adequate for the company's needs
b : a physiological or psychological requirement for the well-being of an organism health and education needs
3 : a condition requiring supply or relief The house is in need of repair. refugees in need of shelter and food
4 : lack of the means of subsistence (see subsistence sense 2) : poverty The community program provides for those in need.


needed; needing; needs or (auxiliary) need

Definition of need (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to be needful or necessary
2 : to be in want

transitive verb

: to be in need of : require

auxiliary verb

: be under necessity or obligation to you need not answer she need only wait

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Synonyms & Antonyms for need

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of need in a Sentence

Noun You can always call me at home if the need arises. These new methods reduce the need to use harmful chemicals on crops. We find that there is still a need for further discussion. There is a great need for change. Our experienced staff will go out of their way to meet your every need. He has trouble expressing his emotional needs. I felt a need to take control of the situation. a need to be loved She has an overwhelming need to be liked and respected. I don't feel the need to defend my decision. Verb I need some advice. What do you think of this dress? I just need a couple of minutes to get ready. Most babies need at least 12 hours of sleep a day. We badly need a vacation. Further research is urgently needed if we are to find a cure. Another delay is the last thing I need! Men? Who needs them?! I certainly don't.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The need for attention, the exaggeration of achievements. Jill Tucker,, "Experts see cult-like behavior in Trump’s most extreme followers. Breaking them free may not be easy," 17 Jan. 2021 Plus, there’s no need to go to a traditional ski resort and pony up for an expensive trails pass. Washington Post, "He escaped the cacophony by strapping on snowshoes and slipping into the Great North Woods," 15 Jan. 2021 Using jarred chestnuts makes this a quick recipe—no need to peel the nuts, a terribly fussy business. Aleksandra Crapanzano, WSJ, "These Chefs’ Recipes Make Pasta Exciting Again," 15 Jan. 2021 There's no need for all 120 frames, so the Ultra will ratchet it down to 10 Hz or so, eliminating unnecessary drain on the battery. Julian Chokkattu, Wired, "Everything Samsung Announced at Its 2021 'Unpacked' Event," 14 Jan. 2021 But a great majority are finished with colon cancer screening for the year — no uncomfortable prep, no need to skip work or find someone to drive them home after anesthesia, no colonoscopy. Star Tribune, "At-home test offers alternative to colonoscopy," 14 Jan. 2021 Rebound, set a screen, no need to worry about offense. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Red All Over: Devin Lloyd’s return finishes Utah football’s major offseason business. Can the Utes contend in 2021?," 14 Jan. 2021 Remember, no prescription is required, so no need to calculate a rebate. Ed Silverman, STAT, "Pharmalittle: J&J Covid-19 vaccine production is behind schedule; Slaoui resigns from Operation Warp Speed," 13 Jan. 2021 There was no need to physically distance from one another. Cameron Fields, cleveland, "Cuyahoga County had best record in the nation for Sabin polio vaccine distribution," 13 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Mets need good PR and a solid baseball person, and Owens would provide both after building his resume with the A’s for 22 years. John Shea,, "A’s assistant GM Billy Owens should get call when Mets replace disgraced GM Jared Porter," 19 Jan. 2021 The Utes need a minimum of four meets this year to qualify for the postseason, but the Pac-12 has yet to release a schedule. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah gymnasts miss opportunity for an upset in Oklahoma," 18 Jan. 2021 Knowing the kinds of fish or other animals that live in an area is important for regulators setting the size of commercial fishing limits as well as marine areas that need to be protected. Eric Niiler, Wired, "The Autonomous Saildrone Surveyor Preps for Its Sea Voyage," 18 Jan. 2021 Prices may need to rise to as much as $40 or $80 per ton to get enough farmers interested and realistically bring down emissions, a World Bank report said. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, "5 things you need to know about what Biden’s plan for a carbon market means for farmers," 18 Jan. 2021 But sometimes teams just need a leader, and people to want to win for. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions can hire Dan Campbell as head coach after New Orleans Saints loss," 18 Jan. 2021 Sadly, these pillars have crumbled and desperately need repair. Kendall Qualls, Star Tribune, "To fulfill King's dream, focus on fundamentals," 17 Jan. 2021 Brees could have beat to add to a legacy that really doesn't need anything more. Rod Walker,, "Walker: If that was it for Drew Brees, it's an undeserved ending for an unforgettable career," 17 Jan. 2021 But the story of this game is the Browns need to score at least 40 points to win. Terry Pluto, cleveland, "Be bold! How the Browns view their playoff matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs – Terry Pluto’s Pregame Scribbles," 17 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'need.' 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 need


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for need

Noun and Verb

Middle English ned, from Old English nīed, nēd; akin to Old High German nōt distress, need, Old Prussian nautin need

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Time Traveler for need

Time Traveler

The first known use of need was before the 12th century

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Statistics for need

Last Updated

23 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Need.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for need


How to pronounce need (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of need

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a situation in which someone or something must do or have something
: something that a person must have : something that is needed in order to live or succeed or be happy
: a strong feeling that you must have or do something



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

: to be in a condition or situation in which you must have (something) : to require (something)
used to say that some action is necessary usually followed by to + verb
used to say that it is important and necessary for someone to do something followed by to + verb


\ ˈnēd How to pronounce need (audio) \
needed; needing

Kids Definition of need

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to suffer from the lack of something important to life or health Give to those who need.
2 : to be necessary Something needs to be done.
3 : to be without : require I need advice. He bought what he needed.



Kids Definition of need (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something that must be done : obligation An electrician understands the need to be careful.
2 : a lack of something necessary, useful, or desired After losing his job, he was in great need.
3 : something necessary or desired Our daily needs are few.

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