\ 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 Coaches also take time to deliver food to families in the program who are in need. Chanel Stitt, Detroit Free Press, "Conservancy builds a place for community, learning on site of former Marygrove College," 28 Sep. 2020 In a direct donor situation, the kidney goes to the person in need. Nicholas Rondinone,, "Connecticut Rep. Jeff Currey finds kidney donor after public plea for help. ‘Here’s to what’s next.’," 28 Sep. 2020 From telehealth platforms to apps connecting donors with those in need, rising entrepreneurs have channeled the disruption to their lives into effecting change. Christina Walker, CNN, "A pandemic upended their communities, so these teen inventors built apps to make life easier," 27 Sep. 2020 During the coronavirus pandemic, the couple donated produce to restaurants working to feed those in need. Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Marty Hintz, a 'prolific storyteller' and mainstay in Milwaukee's Irish American community, dies at 75," 27 Sep. 2020 Black Men Heal began as an entirely volunteer service where clinicians donated an hour a week to men in need, Zakia Williams, one of the co-founders of Black Men Heal, said. NBC News, "America's racial reckoning is putting a spotlight on Black mental health," 26 Sep. 2020 To help food banks feed families in need, please donate at Good Housekeeping, "We Live in the Richest Country in the World — Yet Millions of Americans Go to Bed Hungry," 25 Sep. 2020 But for each membership sold, the company donates one for a teacher or person in need. Courtney Campbell, USA TODAY, "8 places that will deliver groceries straight to your door," 25 Sep. 2020 Of course there are many other laudable Catholic/Christian social services in the community that provide assistance to at-risk populations and individual churches/temples/faith organizations with their own missions and resources for those in need. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: Trump's Civil War comments, Walz and COVID, Catholicism, old buses," 25 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Cotton argued that if no other way could be found to quell the riots, the military might need to be deployed in order to do so. Stanley Kurtz, National Review, "Against the 1619 Curriculum," 17 Sep. 2020 All those advocating for football this fall, said board member Dustin Bosshart, who serves as principal and football coach at St. Clair, need to consider a bigger picture. David La Vaque, Star Tribune, "Minnesota State High School League poised to meet on restarting football, volleyball," 16 Sep. 2020 The safety positions need more rotation too, Kelly said. Tyler James, The Indianapolis Star, "Notre Dame football: Kyren Williams carries heavy load in opener," 15 Sep. 2020 The findings need to be confirmed with additional measurements, the researchers and other experts said. Daniela Hernandez, WSJ, "Is There Life on Venus? Scientists Say Maybe," 15 Sep. 2020 That song really only might need a tiny spark to ignite in a big way. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Five Burning Questions: 24kGoldn and Iann Dior's 'Mood' Climbs to No. 6 on the Hot 100," 15 Sep. 2020 Some industry experts had questioned whether the initial terms of the merger might need to change in light of the impact from the virus. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, "Fiat Chrysler, Peugeot-maker cut billions from dividend over COVID-19," 15 Sep. 2020 Schaffner said researchers need to remember that vaccine research is unpredictable. Arthur Allen, Scientific American, "NIH ‘Very Concerned’ About Serious Side Effect in Coronavirus Vaccine Trial​," 14 Sep. 2020 Cassandra Ulven, a chief with Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, said that while all Level 3 evacuation orders related to that fire have been lifted, residents still need to be prepared to leave again if conditions change. oregonlive, "Oregon wildfires on Monday: 22 still missing as firefighting conditions improve; air quality remains poor," 14 Sep. 2020

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

1 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Need.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

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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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