re·​quire ri-ˈkwī(-ə)r How to pronounce require (audio)
required; requiring

transitive verb

: to claim or ask for by right and authority
archaic : request
: to call for as suitable or appropriate
the occasion requires formal dress
: to demand as necessary or essential : have a compelling need for
all living beings require food
: to impose a compulsion or command on : compel
chiefly British : to feel or be obliged
used with a following infinitive
one does not require to be a specialistElizabeth Bowen
Choose the Right Synonym for require

demand, claim, require, exact mean to ask or call for something as due or as necessary.

demand implies peremptoriness and insistence and often the right to make requests that are to be regarded as commands.

demanded payment of the debt

claim implies a demand for the delivery or concession of something due as one's own or one's right.

claimed the right to manage his own affairs

require suggests the imperativeness that arises from inner necessity, compulsion of law or regulation, or the exigencies of the situation.

the patient requires constant attention

exact implies not only demanding but getting what one demands.

exacts absolute loyalty

Example Sentences

the toy requires four batteries, which are not included
Recent Examples on the Web The prompts require students to approach topics with ingenuity and originality. Christopher Rim, Forbes, 25 Jan. 2023 Terms of Delvey’s home confinement require an ankle monitor and prevent her from using social media, but filming a TV series is apparently fair game. Mikey O'connell, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 Jan. 2023 The three major cable news channels require a pay TV subscription to watch live. Stephen Battaglio Los Angeles Times (tns), al, 25 Jan. 2023 Many of the largest U.S. employers require doctor’s notes, a form of medical documentation intended to prove the legitimacy of an illness. Hirsh Chitkara, The New Republic, 25 Jan. 2023 Those are the only two bags with external pockets — the others all require a full unzipping to access anything inside. Stefanie Waldek, Travel + Leisure, 25 Jan. 2023 Does the content of the meeting require engagement and interaction? Danielle Abril, Washington Post, 25 Jan. 2023 Their newest offers require a minimum $10 deposit and a $5 bet on any market offered by FanDuel. Chris Ilenstine, Chicago Tribune, 25 Jan. 2023 Both of these state laws require platforms to carry speech that the platforms don’t want to. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 25 Jan. 2023 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'require.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English requeren, from Anglo-French requere, from Vulgar Latin *requaerere to seek for, need, require, alteration of Latin requirere, from re- + quaerere to seek, ask

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Time Traveler
The first known use of require was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near require

Cite this Entry

“Require.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


re·​quire ri-ˈkwī(ə)r How to pronounce require (audio)
required; requiring
: to have a need for
a game that requires skill
: order entry 1 sense 2a
the law requires that everyone pay the tax

More from Merriam-Webster on require

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