\ 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 As his final gift to those in need, Nathan was an organ donor and has made his contribution to help others with this wonderful gift., "Nathan P. Sterling," 15 Sep. 2019 Dispatchers faced learning curve Portland’s Bureau of Emergency Communications, which houses the 911 call center, is already used to weighing various options when considering how to respond to Oregonians in need. oregonlive, "Portland aims to dispatch better first responders for homelessness calls," 14 Sep. 2019 Pray first before delivering a lecture on forgiveness and helping someone in need. Terry Pluto,, "Faith & You: Help her? Help him? Are you kidding me?," 13 Sep. 2019 But Scola meted out a punishment significantly less than the 30 years prosecutors requested, saying Esformes also had an extraordinary history of helping people in need. Mario Ariza,, "Nursing home mogul Philip Esformes sentenced to 20 years for $1.3 billion Medicaid fraud," 12 Sep. 2019 Someone who uplifts marginalized voices, willfully accepts constructive criticism, and helps those impacted and in need. Gianluca Russo, Teen Vogue, "Jameela Jamil Advocates for Fat People Despite Being a Thin Woman, and That’s Okay," 12 Sep. 2019 For every piece sold, another will be donated to Smart Works to help a woman in need. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Paid Tribute to Princess Diana at the Smart Works Collection Launch," 12 Sep. 2019 Specifically, the funds will go toward helping aid Hurricane Dorian survivors and fund acts of kindness for those in need. Samantha Highfill,, "Supernatural stars team with Hot Topic for charitable 'End of the Road' T-shirt," 12 Sep. 2019 According to Constantine, for over 20 years the Fairhaven Residents Association has been holding an annual June Treasure Sale to raise funds for their programs and events, and to help residents in need. Sharina Taveras Lopez,, "South Carroll: Integrace Fairhaven hosting Treasure Shop; bestselling romance authors coming to town," 11 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Siemian will likely need surgery, according to Gase. Charlotte Carroll,, "Jets Quarterback Trevor Siemian Out Year With Ankle Injury," 17 Sep. 2019 The spheroids will need to be drained, cleaned and inspected. David Sheppard, Los Angeles Times, "Attack on Saudi facility exposes world economy’s ‘Achilles heel’," 16 Sep. 2019 All of them will need to prove it against teams of Clemson and Alabama’s caliber. Nathan Baird,, "Is Ohio State football’s defense ready for Clemson and Alabama? Buckeye Rewatch," 16 Sep. 2019 Students will need consent from their parents or guardians to be excused on Friday, education officials said. Anne Barnard, New York Times, "Climate Strike N.Y.C.: 1.1 Million Can Skip School for Protest," 16 Sep. 2019 Seniors Jake Holmes, Kyle Krupa and junior Justin Skates will need to do the same. Shawn Mcfarland,, "High school football: Maloney, Southington look reloaded; Berlin will need to find fresh faces to contend, and other takeaways from Week 1," 16 Sep. 2019 By one estimate, Uber would need to spend $500 million to comply with the new law. Wired, "How Tech Firms Like Uber Hide Behind the ‘Platform Defense’," 13 Sep. 2019 Firms will need to work out how to support complicated computerised devices long after their original programmers have moved on. The Economist, "How the world will change as computers spread into everyday objects," 12 Sep. 2019 To continue driving progress, China will need to update these standards continuously. Fang Zhang, The Conversation, "China is positioned to lead on climate change as the US rolls back its policies," 12 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for need

Last Updated

5 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for need

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

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More Definitions for need


How to pronounce need (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on need

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for need

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with need

Spanish Central: Translation of need

Nglish: Translation of need for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on need

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


not being in agreement or harmony

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