\ 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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There’s no need to order through your hairdresser, call a number in a catalog or make a special order online. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 20 May 2022 There was a serious drinking culture in Downton Abbey, and this 160-page collection of cocktail recipes covers some of the best boozy concoctions from the 1920s — with no need to fight Prohibition. Thomas Hindle, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 May 2022 Federal law on domestic terrorism is in no need of overhauling, much less underhauling. The Editors, National Review, 19 May 2022 Unlike shows about, say, The Four Seasons or Carole King or Motown, whole decades don’t have to be boiled down to a few lines of dialogue, and there’s no need for medleys. Christopher Arnott, Hartford Courant, 19 May 2022 Performers will drive or fly from city to city in its new iteration, and stay in hotels, a tremendous savings made practicable by the fact that there’s no longer a need to check-in, say, a big cat. New York Times, 18 May 2022 But this also allowed the county party to take on tasks that the state party might perform elsewhere, with no need for overlap. cleveland, 18 May 2022 There’s a need for more affordable housing in L.A., Yank says, even in already dense urban areas. Los Angeles Times, 18 May 2022 The best thing about this promotion is that the item will be given to every fan at the game, instead of just the first 10,000, so there’s no need to show up to the ballpark two hours early and wait in a long line. Matt Young, Chron, 18 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Under the legislative plan, the first disclosure would not need to be filed until April 2024. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, 10 May 2022 That’s in large part thanks to the many low-cost, high-performance options available to travelers, gym-goers and infrequent shavers—those people who wouldn’t otherwise need or want a permanent razor. Adam Hurly, Robb Report, 9 May 2022 If police need to take strong action to protect the public, that's more important than his personal closure. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, 8 May 2022 Immigration is rapidly returning to its pre-pandemic levels, researchers say, but the U.S. would need a significant acceleration to make up its deficit. Arkansas Online, 8 May 2022 Last month, a top European regulator cautioned that Mr. Musk would need to follow the bloc’s new rules on content moderation. Sarah E. Needleman, WSJ, 7 May 2022 Immigration is rapidly returning to its pre-pandemic levels, researchers say, but the U.S. would need a significant acceleration to make up its deficit. Nicholas Riccardi, Chron, 7 May 2022 Immigration is rapidly returning to its pre-pandemic levels, researchers say, but the U.S. would need a significant acceleration to make up its deficit. Nicholas Riccardi, Anchorage Daily News, 7 May 2022 In response, Republicans need to get out ahead on the issue and define the terms of debate early and often. Nate Hochman, National Review, 6 May 2022 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Need.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for need


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on need

Nglish: Translation of need for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of need for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about need


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