\ 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 Something similar need to happen in film, Ho believes. Patrick Frater, Variety, 3 Sep. 2021 An unmet childhood need for unconditional love and safety drives your inner child the most. Womensmedia, Forbes, 2 Sep. 2021 The proposal correctly identifies an important shortcoming and unmet need under current arrangements, and is well targeted in its attempt to improve the situation. Chris Pope, National Review, 2 Sep. 2021 Delays in workers returning to the office mean fewer people in many downtown areas and less need to staff up restaurants, hair salons and other services that cater to white-collar workers near their offices. Washington Post, 1 Sep. 2021 The president was obviously at work and doing his job, so why does this need to be retroactive? Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, 1 Sep. 2021 On Sunday, Kennard posted a lengthy thread on his Twitter account advising players who get cut need to learn financial literacy rather than rely on football as their sole income. Dana Scott, The Arizona Republic, 1 Sep. 2021 New York filled that need by bringing in Shaq Lawson, who has 20 1/2 sacks in five seasons with Buffalo and Miami., 29 Aug. 2021 Adopting or fostering an animal also helps create space in the shelters for other in-need animals. San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Lednicky said people in the U.S. don't need to worry much about Nipah virus because it has been isolated to Asia regions where fruit bats live. Asha C. Gilbert, USA TODAY, 7 Sep. 2021 Fans do not need to remove shoes or belts to walk through the metal detectors. Ben Flanagan |, al, 7 Sep. 2021 Electric cars don’t need as many trips to the garage for repairs and maintenance, which is a profit center for most dealers., 6 Sep. 2021 Did the two White ladies who didn’t need washing or ironing find the Black woman who didn’t want to do it? Washington Post, 5 Sep. 2021 Yet the rich and the corporations need to be called to account. Jeffrey Sachs, CNN, 4 Sep. 2021 And today’s carpenter’s union member will first need to pass tests on various aptitudes including math, reading comprehension and applied sciences, and an interview, not have a relative in the union. Karen Caffarini,, 3 Sep. 2021 And the gangsters need it because, inside, Arturo is still popping off. Tara Ariano, Vulture, 3 Sep. 2021 At this point, researchers don’t know how many antibodies people need to ward off infection or disease, and whether levels of these molecules are even the best proxy for vaccine protection. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 3 Sep. 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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Last Updated

8 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Need.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Sep. 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on need

Nglish: Translation of need for Spanish Speakers

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


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