- a requirement, necessary duty, or obligation: There is no need for you to go there.
- a lack of something wanted or deemed necessary: to fulfill the needs of the assignment.
- urgent want, as of something requisite: He has no need of your charity.
- necessity arising from the circumstances of a situation or case: There is no need to worry.
- a situation or time of difficulty; exigency: to help a friend in need; to be a friend in need.
- a condition marked by the lack of something requisite: the need for leadership.
- destitution; extreme poverty: The family's need is acute.
- to have need of; require: to need money.
- to be under an obligation (used as an auxiliary, typically in an interrogative or in a negative statement, and followed by infinitive, in certain cases without to; in the 3d person singular the form is need, not needs): He need not go.
- to be in need or want.
- to be necessary: There needs no apology.
- if need be, should the necessity arise: If need be, I can type the letters myself.
Origin of need
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- (tr) to be in want ofto need money
- (tr) to require or be required of necessity (to be or do something); be obligedto need to do more work
- (takes an infinitive without to) used as an auxiliary in negative and interrogative sentences to express necessity or obligation, and does not add -s when used with he, she, it, and singular nounsneed he go?
- (intr) archaic to be essential or necessary tothere needs no reason for this
- the fact or an instance of feeling the lack of somethinghe has need of a new coat
- a requirementthe need for vengeance
- necessity or obligation resulting from some situationno need to be frightened
- distress or extremitya friend in need
- extreme poverty or destitution; penury
Word Origin and History for well-needed
Old English nied (West Saxon), ned (Mercian) "necessity, compulsion, duty; hardship, distress; errand, business," originally "violence, force," from Proto-Germanic *nauthis (cf. Old Saxon nod, Old Norse nauðr, Old Frisian ned, Middle Dutch, Dutch nood, Old High German not, German Not, Gothic nauþs "need"), probably cognate with Old Prussian nautin "need," and perhaps with Old Church Slavonic nazda, Russian nuzda, Polish nędza "misery, distress," from PIE *nau- "death, to be exhausted" (see narwhal).
The more common Old English word for "need, necessity, want" was ðearf, but they were connected via a notion of "trouble, pain," and the two formed a compound, niedðearf "need, necessity, compulsion, thing needed." Nied also might have been influenced by Old English neod "desire, longing," which often was spelled the same. Common in Old English compounds, e.g. niedfaru "compulsory journey," a euphemism for "death;" niedhæmed "rape," the second element being an Old English word meaning "sexual intercourse;" niedling "slave." Meaning "extreme poverty, destitution" is from c.1200.
Old English neodian "be necessary, be required (for some purpose); require, have need of," from the same root as need (n.). Meaning "to be under obligation (to do something)" is from late 14c. Related: Needed; needing. The adjectival phrase need-to-know is attested from 1952. Dismissive phrase who needs it?, popular from c.1960, is a translated Yiddishism.