\ 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 In this respect, another essential part of the pregnancy loss conversation is health equity, acknowledging the disparities affecting Black, Indigenous, and people of color individuals, and their need for workplace protections. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Why We Need Paid Leave After Miscarriage in the U.S.," 2 Apr. 2021 Townsend is expected to fill USD’s biggest need as a legitimate scorer. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Toreros lose Massalski but pick up scoring guard," 30 Mar. 2021 With the increase in activity came the need to remind customers of COVID restrictions, such as guests needing to wear masks unless seated and limits on the number of diners per table. Cheryl V. Jackson, The Indianapolis Star, "'Roaring '20s all over again': NCAA scores optimism for bartender in downtown sports bar," 29 Mar. 2021 In a 2019 deposition, Cullimore was pressed about statistics of renters lying about their need for support animals. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Some Utah landlords are putting up roadblocks for disabled renters and evicting them," 25 Mar. 2021 Specifically, this conjunction will illuminate our need for freedom and space within relationships. Elizabeth Gulino,, "What Is A Venus Star Point? So Glad You Asked," 25 Mar. 2021 June is a great time to focus on physical fitness and perhaps combine your need for social contact with exercise by joining a fitness center or participating in a sport. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for March 24, 2021: Happy birthday Jim Parsons; Pisces, focus on focused career success," 24 Mar. 2021 Coming off a scoreless game and a sporadic season, the future of Scottie Lewis at UF is less certain; his need for another season in college is clear. Edgar Thompson,, "Embattled Gators coach Mike White not going anywhere | Commentary," 24 Mar. 2021 While playing guard last season out of a greater team need, tackle is where Scaife feels most comfortable. David Furones,, "Miami Hurricanes make spring change on offensive line," 23 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb State education officials recently said schools no longer need to do temperature checks for every student entering the building. Olivia Krauth, The Courier-Journal, "Following smooth elementary return, JCPS middle and high schools to reopen Monday," 4 Apr. 2021 Businesses also need to consider the potential consequences to someone who refuses to show they’ve been vaccinated, experts said. Evan Macdonald, cleveland, "Coronavirus vaccine passports beg the question: Who should know whether you’ve gotten the shot?," 3 Apr. 2021 Supporters of the extension said lawmakers and the Lamont administration need additional time to decide which executive orders should be continued, which should be changed and which should be suspended. Russell Blair,, "Connecticut Politics Week in Review: Gov. Ned Lamont’s emergency COVID-19 powers extended to May 20," 2 Apr. 2021 At the end of the day, back sleepers need a pillow that helps keep the body’s natural cervical curve, Kentof said. Ambar Pardilla, NBC News, "The best pillows of 2021: Buffy, Casper, Brooklinen and more," 1 Apr. 2021 Kritsky said at the minimum, there need to be three consecutive days of 64 or over and some rain. Sarah Brookbank, The Enquirer, "When will cicada Brood X hatch? Here's a handy equation to find out," 1 Apr. 2021 Kerry, who was America's diplomatic lead in drafting 2015's Paris Agreement, said countries need to set more ambitious goals heading into the COP-26 in November. Cara Korte, CBS News, ""Mother Earth, the planet, is screaming at us": U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry tells global leaders not enough is being done to fight climate change crisis," 31 Mar. 2021 Tina Freese Decker, president and CEO of Spectrum Health, said people need to treat this surge seriously — mask up, wash hands and social distance — in an effort to make this surge the virus' last. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan leads US with highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita, more vaccines coming," 31 Mar. 2021 To ease the burden of student debt long term, policymakers will need to find a way to bend the cost curve or shift more of the responsibility for paying for college back onto taxpayers. Kelly Field, The Christian Science Monitor, "College affordability, loan forgiveness, and a path to the future," 31 Mar. 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

5 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Need.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for need



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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Comments on need

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