\ 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

Some of the mitzvah projects during this event will include assembling school supplies for children in foster care, assembling sandwiches for local needy families, making chew toys for dogs and making slipper socks for a veterans nursing home. Sergio Carmona,, "Synagogue’s open house to include mitzvah projects," 1 Aug. 2019 The current college-admissions system may be unfair for many Americans, but when families try to game that system, the neediest students suffer the most. Adam Harris, The Atlantic, "Trading Custody for Financial Aid," 30 July 2019 Policy experts said the proposal is likely to increase food insecurity among needy families. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "Trump plan would kick more than 3 million people off food stamps," 23 July 2019 The cards will be distributed to needy area families during the Christmas season. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Woman’s club installs new officers...local events," 15 July 2019 The drive, in partnerships with the Oak Park and River Forest public libraries, will benefit needy students living in each village. Steve Schering,, "Oak Park, River Forest youth services start collecting school supplies," 8 July 2019 Some liberals have also concluded the proposal wouldn’t provide sufficient help to the neediest students. Michelle Hackman, WSJ, "Why Democrats Have Stopped Talking About Free College," 24 Nov. 2018 The sea floor was solid enough — but still a little needy. William Booth, Washington Post, "Britain’s deadliest path," 26 July 2019 Lipps said the proposal would result in an annual budgetary savings of $2.5 billion and restrict less needy individuals from qualifying for benefits. The Washington Post,, "3 million could lose food stamps under proposed SNAP benefit change," 23 July 2019

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

13 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for needy

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

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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 period when something is suspended

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