\ ˈnē-dē How to pronounce needy (audio) \
needier; neediest

Definition of needy

1 : being in want : poverty-stricken needy families … where needy children from the community could come to get free, nutritious meals.— Liza N. Burby
2 : marked by want of affection, attention, or emotional support emotionally needy The girl was needy for her mother's affection.

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Other Words from needy

neediness noun

Examples of needy in a Sentence

As a child, she was extremely needy and had no self-confidence. those generous souls who regularly give money and donate clothes to help the needy

Recent Examples on the Web

Forty-five states, acting under court orders, threats or settlements, have directed money specifically to their neediest districts. Eric A. Hanushek And, WSJ, "The War on Poverty Remains a Stalemate," 17 Mar. 2019 Volunteers are in particularly high demand around the holidays, when many needy people feel the sting of the holidays deeply. Emily Chiu, Redbook, "6 Simple Things That Help Me Deal With Holiday Depression," 29 Nov. 2018 There are other examples of the neediest people of California being called to subsidize the upper classes in pursuit of a carbon-free energy program. WSJ, "California’s Green Rules Hurt the Poor More," 23 Sep. 2018 We should be outraged that a nation with as much wealth as ours cares so little for our most needy. Cheryl Strayed, New York Times, "What Should I Do About My Rage?," 15 May 2018 For decades, most members were able to volunteer at local chapters’ shops, which raised money for league activities and provided clothes to the needy, according to the Junior League association. Valerie Bauerlein, WSJ, "Junior League Strains to Keep Members, Thrift Stores," 26 Dec. 2018 American Legion Soldiers, Sailors, Marines Fund DANIELSON-PUTNAM — The Connecticut Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines Fund was established in 1919 to assist needy wartime veterans and their families. Courant Community, "Community News For The Killingly Edition," 27 Mar. 2018 Digital First Media/Getty Images Charitable giving is a hallmark of the holiday season, but this year, do-gooders aren’t just dropping off clothes for the needy and sending food to soup kitchens. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "How states and crowdfunding are tackling the growing problem of student lunch debt," 27 Dec. 2018 Di Maio, who pledged to give needy Italians a basic income, takes over as economic development minister, while Salvini heads the interior ministry, the key position to enforce his pledge to expel hundreds of thousands of migrants. Nicole Winfield,, "Italian populists sworn into power as euroskeptics cheer birth of new government coalition," 1 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'needy.' 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 needy

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for needy

Last Updated

7 May 2019

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Time Traveler for needy

The first known use of needy was in the 12th century

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More Definitions for needy



English Language Learners Definition of needy

: not having enough money, food, etc., to live properly
: needing a lot of attention, affection, or emotional support


\ ˈnē-dē How to pronounce needy (audio) \
needier; neediest

Kids Definition of needy

: very poor

Other Words from needy

neediness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on needy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with needy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for needy

Spanish Central: Translation of needy

Nglish: Translation of needy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of needy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on needy

What made you want to look up needy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a strong desire or propensity

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