need

1 of 2

noun

1
: necessary duty : obligation
no need to apologize
the need to pay taxes Peter Scott
2
a
: 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.

need

2 of 2

verb

needed; needing; needs or (auxiliary) need

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

Example Sentences

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
Just make an appointment; no need to get the approval of your primary physician. Rhonda Abrams, USA TODAY, 17 Nov. 2022 Durable instrument that improves the shoveler’s posture and reduces the need to bend and strain the body. Kaylee Remington, cleveland, 17 Nov. 2022 Advocates hope that cultured meat will reduce the need to slaughter animals for food and help with the climate crisis. Katie Hunt, CNN, 17 Nov. 2022 Such laws eliminate the need for a state residents to carry a firearm in public, which state leaders have often touted as legislation that further ensures a citizens’ right to protect themselves in public. Fox News, 17 Nov. 2022 Scratching the ticket reveals to the recipient which basic need received funding by the $10 donation per ticket: clean water, solar light, nutritious meals, or literacy tools. John Thompson, Men's Health, 17 Nov. 2022 Even if more students pursue the career, the shrinking workforce of both doctors and forensic pathologists means there just won’t be enough people to fill the need, says deJong. Time, 16 Nov. 2022 Advocates for a multiplanetary future often cite the need to establish homes for humanity in other places in order to ensure our species’ long-term survival. Eva Botkin-kowacki, The Christian Science Monitor, 16 Nov. 2022 Bethany discussed ways to lower your carbon footprint when doing laundry and the need to understand the fabrics of your clothes. Annie O’sullivan, Good Housekeeping, 16 Nov. 2022
Verb
Much of it is held by countries that don't need it, said Avinash Persaud, Mottley's special envoy for climate. Kelvin Chan, ajc, 18 Nov. 2022 Decorations don’t need to be excessive to be showstopping. Jess Safavimehr, House Beautiful, 18 Nov. 2022 Yet most people don’t actually need to get tested, doctors say. Erica Sweeney, Men's Health, 18 Nov. 2022 The organization supports families that choose to look after their disabled children at home, and builds playgrounds across Russia and former Soviet countries, in areas that need them, beginning in Nizhniy itself. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, 17 Nov. 2022 The money, Gorzycki said, goes to people who need it more than himself or his friends. David Begnaud, CBS News, 17 Nov. 2022 A decade later, Kardashian doesn't need her soon-to-be-ex husband to get into the Met, or to help her figure out her style. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, 17 Nov. 2022 Republicans are one seat away from House majority, needing to win one of 10 uncalled races, while Democrats need to win all 10. ... Ben Kamisar, NBC News, 16 Nov. 2022 Boulder Care delivers thousands of naloxone doses—a life-saving drug that can reverse an overdose—and buprenorphine prescriptions—a medication approved in 2002 to treat opioid use disorder—to patients who need it. Kasandra Brabaw, Fortune, 16 Nov. 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.

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

Middle English ned, from Old English nīed, nēd; akin to Old High German nōt distress, need, Old Prussian nautin need

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of need was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near need

Cite this Entry

“Need.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/need. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

need 1 of 2

noun

1
: necessary duty : obligation
no need to apologize
2
a
: a lack of something necessary, desirable, or useful
the need for more doctors
b
: something necessary or desired
a need for sympathy
also : a mental or physical requirement for keeping a living thing in normal condition
3
: a situation requiring supply or relief
call whenever the need arises
a friend in need
4
: poverty sense 1, want
provide for those in need

need

2 of 2

verb

1
: to be in want
2
: to be in need of : require
they need advice
3
: to be required or obliged
we need to look at the facts
you need not answer
4
: to be necessary
something needs to be done

More from Merriam-Webster on need

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