\ 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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

More often, there has been a lack of transparency, along with the brazen, albeit legal, gaming of the program to take advantage of a break that comes for projects done in what are supposed to be needy areas. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "Trump takes aim at 'golden visa' program that's pumped hundreds of millions of dollars in investment into Texas," 24 Aug. 2019 The injury cast a shadow over everything: his predraft process, the wide receiver-needy Ravens’ investment in him, his absence from offseason workouts and the start of training camp. Jonas Shaffer,, "Finally on field, Marquise Brown shows potential in Ravens’ weather-shortened 26-15 preseason win vs. Eagles," 23 Aug. 2019 Spending time with certain people, too, like difficult family members or needy friends, can also get the stress hormones flowing. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "How to Keep Your Cool Around Your Kids When You're Ready to Blow, According to a Clinical Social Worker," 19 Aug. 2019 Critics say the rule is already causing needy immigrants to forgo health care and nutritional aid. Jason Deparle, New York Times, "How Stephen Miller Seized the Moment to Battle Immigration," 17 Aug. 2019 New England, New Orleans, Dallas and the L.A. Rams are three teams that corner-needy clubs have been eyeing as potential trade partners. Albert Breer,, "In Washington and Miami, Who Will Be the Starting Quarterbacks?," 15 Aug. 2019 Ohio Medicaid is a program for the medically and financially needy. Laura Hancock,, "Ohio Medicaid gets $100 million with aim to improve mental health care," 2 Aug. 2019 Hilton employees collect hotel guests’ old soap, then sanitize and recycle it into bars for needy communities, while diverting over 1.5 million pounds of the substance from landfills. Hanna Flanagan,, "Holiday Inn Will Stop Stocking Travel-Size Toiletries in Favor of Bulk-Size Bathroom Amenities," 31 July 2019 That's the accusation being made against a private equity firm that bought Hahnemann University Hospital, which serves Philly's neediest residents. Doug Criss, CNN, "5 things to know for July 30: Capital One, Gilroy victims, Pakistan, Italy stabbing," 30 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.

See More

First Known Use of needy

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about needy

Dictionary Entries near needy








Statistics for needy

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for needy

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


recurring in steady succession

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!