\ 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 In addition, thanks to additional government funding, the SBA is designing pandemic-relief programs focused on businesses that are most in need. Cheryl Winokur Munk, WSJ, 1 June 2021 Foundation for MetroWest recently surpassed $5 million in emergency grants supporting organizations on the front lines of serving people in need during the pandemic., 1 June 2021 The families encircled Farhana Khan, of the Razakaar Foundation, who works with VetStrong and provides referrals for refugees in need. Vincent T. Davis, San Antonio Express-News, 31 May 2021 The organization provides material goods and facilitates emotional-support groups, in addition to other services, to families in need. Dallas News, 31 May 2021 What started as a small catering company, with a goal of giving back to veterans in need, quickly grew into a thriving business. Judy Koutsky, Forbes, 31 May 2021 Utah received $2 million of the $343.5 million and funds are still available for those in need. The Salt Lake Tribune, 31 May 2021 The group holds marches and gathered donations and groceries to distribute to families in need during the wildfires. oregonlive, 30 May 2021 The Corcoran Neighborhood Organization continues to provide free food because people are still in need, Smith said. Nicole Norfleet, Star Tribune, 30 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The new sheriff in town is going to need more ammunition. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, 4 June 2021 Michigan wasn't clear up until that point on what steps residents would need to take after the federal tax rules changed suddenly when President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law March 11. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, 4 June 2021 The Nets are going to need a happy medium of isolation and ball movement, which Harden can give them with his unselfishness as a floor general and facilitator. Mike Mazzeo, Forbes, 3 June 2021 The Senate voted last week 54 to 35 on legislation that would have created the commission, falling short of the 60 votes need to advance the bill. Manu Raju, CNN, 3 June 2021 State residents need to have received at least their first shot to be eligible and must register to be included in the giveaway, Justice said. Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY, 3 June 2021 Wednesday, police say The Hamilton County Coroner's Office will need to identify the body, police said. Lawrence Andrea, The Indianapolis Star, 3 June 2021 Who qualifies: Nonprofits that have an idea for a community-building project or need operational funds. Stacy Sullivan, The Arizona Republic, 3 June 2021 Removing fares eliminates a revenue stream transit agencies need to maintain current levels of service., 3 June 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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Statistics for need

Last Updated

4 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Need.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jun. 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.


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