Definition of necessity
1 : the quality or state of being necessary He questioned the necessity for the change.
2a : pressure of circumstance The plane was compelled by necessity to change its course.b : physical or moral compulsion did it, not because he wanted to, but by necessityc : impossibility of a contrary order or condition submittimg to the necessity imposed by the physical laws of the universe
3 : the quality or state of being in need; especially : poverty had come to help them in their necessity
4a : something that is necessary : requirement Many families could not afford the bare necessities of life.b : an urgent need or desire When his father collapsed, an ambulance became a necessity.
: in such a way that it cannot be otherwise; also : as a necessary consequence further changes will occur of necessity
Examples of necessity in a Sentence
Sunscreen is an absolute necessity for the beach.
food, clothes, and other basic necessities
Getting plenty of rest is a necessity.
Without a car, living close to work is a necessity.
All we took with us on our hiking trip were the bare necessities.
Recent Examples of necessity from the Web
How to fix it: Health insurance is a financial necessity these days; virtually no one can pay such high health care costs unassisted.
Japan redefined style through necessity, and proved truncated pants can become businesswear.
Like most good inventions, The Mash-up Americans was born out of necessity.
Connections are key, and networking is a vital necessity in creating and sustaining opportunities.
Organ transplants, by necessity, can only exist in that gap.
Indeed, there are many reasons to travel solo, either by necessity or by choice.
When the poorest families pay less for housing, the extra money goes to necessities like health care.
Typically, renters in that situation risk frequent evictions and have to find other solutions to afford housing, such as cutting back on other necessities and spending a big proportion of their incomes on housing.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'necessity'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of necessity
Middle English necessite, from Anglo-French necessité, from Latin necessitat-, necessitas, from necesse
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
NECESSITY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of necessity for English Language Learners
: something that you must have or do : something that is necessary
: the quality of being necessary
NECESSITY Defined for Kids
Definition of necessity for Students
1 : the state of things that forces certain actions The necessity of eating forced her to work.
2 : very great need Call us for help in case of necessity.
3 : the state of being in need : poverty I am forced by necessity to beg.
4 : something that is badly needed He bought a few necessities before his trip.
Legal Definition of necessity
1a : the presence or pressure of circumstances that justify or compel a certain course of action; especially : a need to respond or react to a dangerous situation by committing a criminal act b : an affirmative defense originating in common law that the defendant had to commit a criminal act because of the pressure of a situation that threatened a harm greater than that resulting from the act — see also choice of evils defense at defense 2a — compare duress, undue influence
2 : something that is necessary especially to subsistence obligated to provide the necessities of food, clothing, and shelter
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up necessity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).