\ 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 Plus, for every pair purchased, a pair of socks is donated to someone in need. Madeline Diamond, Travel + Leisure, "The Best Running Socks You Can Buy, According to Avid Runners," 17 May 2020 Under federal guidelines, only students who are eligible for federal aid and have a financial need can be considered. Dallas News, "UT Arlington is giving $10.6M to students through grants funded by the CARES Act," 15 May 2020 Per the Texas native’s campaign website, Miller’s mission is to provide up to 580,000 meals to students and families in need. Taiia Smart Young, Essence, "NFL Star Von Miller Details 'Frightening' COVID-19 Diagnosis: Dying Did 'Cross My Mind'," 15 May 2020 Revis has been Wright’s rowing coach for five years now and has been there for him in times of need. Sierra Newton,, "Heart Land: St. Xavier teen enjoys giVING much-needed money to his rowing coach," 12 May 2020 On the other side, those more skeptical of the need to accept these high economic costs point in part to the uncertainty of the models, preferring to take their medical chances with significantly fewer public-health restrictions. Damon Linker, TheWeek, "The great uncertainty," 12 May 2020 Even those who identify as introverts have some need to be in the presence of people, if quietly. James Hamblin, The Atlantic, "Open Up the Streets," 10 May 2020 The deal came together once TEDC purchased the building and Whitmeyer’s had a simultaneous need to expand. Katherine Feser, Houston Chronicle, "Real estate transactions: Whitmeyer’s Distilling Co. takes space in downtown Tomball," 8 May 2020 Charlotte Hornets — Obi Toppin, F, Dayton Charlotte has a glaring need for a center. Omari Sankofa Ii, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons could get steal of NBA draft with Tyrese Haliburton at No. 4 pick overall," 7 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Siemian will likely need surgery, according to Gase. Charlotte Carroll,, "Jets Quarterback Trevor Siemian Out Year With Ankle Injury," 17 Sep. 2019 The spheroids will need to be drained, cleaned and inspected. David Sheppard, Los Angeles Times, "Attack on Saudi facility exposes world economy’s ‘Achilles heel’," 16 Sep. 2019 All of them will need to prove it against teams of Clemson and Alabama’s caliber. Nathan Baird,, "Is Ohio State football’s defense ready for Clemson and Alabama? Buckeye Rewatch," 16 Sep. 2019 Students will need consent from their parents or guardians to be excused on Friday, education officials said. Anne Barnard, New York Times, "Climate Strike N.Y.C.: 1.1 Million Can Skip School for Protest," 16 Sep. 2019 Seniors Jake Holmes, Kyle Krupa and junior Justin Skates will need to do the same. Shawn Mcfarland,, "High school football: Maloney, Southington look reloaded; Berlin will need to find fresh faces to contend, and other takeaways from Week 1," 16 Sep. 2019 By one estimate, Uber would need to spend $500 million to comply with the new law. Wired, "How Tech Firms Like Uber Hide Behind the ‘Platform Defense’," 13 Sep. 2019 Firms will need to work out how to support complicated computerised devices long after their original programmers have moved on. The Economist, "How the world will change as computers spread into everyday objects," 12 Sep. 2019 To continue driving progress, China will need to update these standards continuously. Fang Zhang, The Conversation, "China is positioned to lead on climate change as the US rolls back its policies," 12 Sep. 2019

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

20 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Need.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 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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More from Merriam-Webster on need

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for need

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with need

Spanish Central: Translation of need

Nglish: Translation of need for Spanish Speakers

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

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