\ 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 For people who have had their homes destroyed, that’s not their biggest need, Johnson said. al, "Pastor of disaster: Minister weathered April 27, 2011 tornado and a hurricane," 27 Apr. 2021 For a few years now, NFL general managers have been saying it’s getting harder and harder to find good offensive linemen, but the Colts managed to time their critical need at the position to a draft that bucks that trend. Joel A. Erickson, The Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Colts' need at LT matches deepest OL draft class Chris Ballard's seen in years," 27 Apr. 2021 There are few things more important to chess players than identifying their opponents’ tactics and their own need to sit comfortably. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "Chess Grandmasters Obsess Over Gambits, Endgames—and Chairs," 27 Apr. 2021 Among those are predicting how well students might do if admitted and assessing their financial need. Derek Newton, USA TODAY, "Artificial Intelligence grading your ‘neuroticism’? Welcome to colleges' new frontier," 26 Apr. 2021 And despite the fastball’s low velocity, the Mariners still often proved late when flailing at it by virtue of their need to respect the pitcher’s changeup., "Eduardo Rodriguez’s precision finally on display as Red Sox beat Mariners, 5-3, to split series," 25 Apr. 2021 The Miami Dolphins have glaring offensive needs for a standout pass catcher and workhorse running back, but their most apparent need on the roster this offseason might be edge rusher. Safid Deen,, "Dolphins need to draft a talented edge rusher, but which one of their top picks should they use to land him?," 22 Apr. 2021 The result, in combination with economic demands and the pressure to work twice as hard, can mean Black women take on too much while denying their own need for rest or solace., "Keke Palmer Is In Full Bloom," 22 Apr. 2021 Lisa’s fractured psyche compels her need to attack others. Armond White, National Review, "The Simpsons Tries to Cancel Morrissey," 21 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Cox said his biggest realization during that time has been how much stronger the safety nets that hold up vulnerable populations need to be., "A Cape Cod veterans advocate will announce the Patriots’ first-round draft pick," 27 Apr. 2021 Windle said the forthcoming European GSR2 regulations, coming in 2027, mandate active driver assistance that will need EPS. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, "Lotus Emira Will Be the Final Gasoline Car from the Sports-Car Maker," 27 Apr. 2021 The plan also calls for mental and physical health and dental care for children who need it, similar to the Head Start program, which provides comprehensive early child education, nutrition and other services to low-income children and families. Sarah Ewall-wice, CBS News, "Progressive lawmakers push child care plans ahead of President Biden's proposal," 27 Apr. 2021 There’s nothing serious about Troye Sivan’s low-stakes electropop song with Ariana Grande, and there doesn’t need to be. Justin Curto, Vulture, "All 54 of Ariana Grande’s Collaborations, Ranked," 26 Apr. 2021 The defenders and goalkeepers need to be impenetrable. Alex Vejar, The Salt Lake Tribune, "RSL opens the season on Saturday. Here’s a primer on what to expect.," 24 Apr. 2021 Rubio says the brand is seeing a recovery even before travel fully rebounds; customers don't need to be completely ready to get on a flight to buy a suitcase, after all. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, "Away co-founder Jen Rubio says she never planned to be CEO. Here’s what changed her mind," 23 Apr. 2021 All Columbia residents need to be aware that this conflict, which the Rouse Project describes as a progressive movement for diversity and inclusion, is really about big business using marketing power to increase profits at taxpayer expense., "Letters: Readers sound off on the upcoming Columbia Association elections, Rouse Project | READER COMMENTARY," 23 Apr. 2021 Even after vaccination, experts say those with immune system deficiencies will need to be extra cautious — continuing with hand-washing, mask-wearing, social distancing as well as choosing the types of gatherings that are the safest for them. Washington Post, "What immunosuppressed patients should know about the coronavirus vaccines," 23 Apr. 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

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Need.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 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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