need

1 of 2

noun

1
: necessary duty : obligation
no need to apologize
the need to pay taxesPeter 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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Plus, assembly is easy: The pieces simply slide together without the need for screws or tools. Carly Totten, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 July 2024 The other questions the need to cut emissions at all, denouncing most forms of clean energy as at best unnecessary and at worst destructive. Chris Isidore, CNN, 16 July 2024
Verb
Paradise, even before it was lost, needed to be regained, each day’s work undoing the ravages of the day before. Katie Kadue, The New Yorker, 17 July 2024 And most office buildings have central air conditioning, so the system needs to be replaced with individual cooling and heating systems for each unit. Samantha Delouya, CNN, 17 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for need 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'need.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 22 Jul. 2024.

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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