\ 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

One core reason to have unions is to boost the real wages of needy workers. Tyler Cowen, Twin Cities, "Tyler Cowen: Keep unions away from graduate students at private universities," 17 June 2019 Adult public assistance payments to needy aged, blind and disabled Alaskans have been cut by $7.5 million through a veto. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "Here’s a rundown of Gov. Dunleavy’s line-item budget vetoes," 29 June 2019 However, just 31 percent of those polled supported increased spending on assistance to the unemployed and 35 percent backed providing more aid to the world’s needy. NBC News, "Federal spending: creeping socialism or critical needs?," 28 June 2019 For instance, the person-to-person microlending site Kiva has, over the past 15 years, let 1.6 million people provide small-amount loans totaling more than $1 billion to more than 2 million needy entrepreneurs in developing countries. Nir Kshetri, The Conversation, "Facebook’s Libra may be quite attractive in developing countries," 25 June 2019 Balfe runs the gamut from caring to angry, frightened, tough, needy and joyful. Outlander Fan, Marie Claire, "5 Biggest Takeaways From 'Outlander' Season 4 Episode 5," 3 Dec. 2018 Women are usually looked at as weak and needy and Savage is just that different woman. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "See Every Cheeky Piece From Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty Valentine’s Collection," 8 Jan. 2019 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

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

2 Jul 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

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