to be obliged or bound to by an imperative requirement: I must keep my word.
to be under the necessity to; need to: Animals must eat to live.
to be required or compelled to, as by the use or threat of force: You must obey the law.
to be compelled to in order to fulfill some need or achieve an aim: We must hurry if we're to arrive on time.
to be forced to, as by convention or the requirements of honesty: I must say, that is a lovely hat.
to be or feel urged to; ought to: I must buy that book.
to be reasonably expected to; is bound to: It must have stopped raining by now. She must be at least 60.
to be inevitably certain to; be compelled by nature: Everyone must die.
to be obliged; be compelled: Do I have to go? I must, I suppose.
Archaic. (sometimes used with ellipsis of go, get, or some similar verb readily understood from the context): We must away.
something necessary, vital, or required: This law is a must.
Other definitions for must (2 of 4)
new wine; the unfermented juice as pressed from the grape or other fruit.
Other definitions for must (3 of 4)
mold; moldiness; mustiness: a castle harboring the must of centuries.
Other definitions for must (4 of 4)
musk, especially a powder made from musk.
to powder (the hair).
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use must in a sentence
Ohio is a must-win swing state for Republicans if they are to reclaim the White House.
During the Showtime era, Lakers games became a must-see event that attracted fans and celebrities alike.How to Rescue the Clippers From Donald Sterling’s Racist Clutches | Jesse Lawrence | April 29, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
In other words, this book is a must-read for every U.S. citizen.Beauty and Subversion in the Secret Poems of Afghan Women | Daniel Bosch | April 6, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Meyers still has a way to go if he wants to make his new weeknight gig must-see daily viewing.Seth Meyers Gets Off to a Rocky Start on 'Late Night' | Kevin Fallon | February 25, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
It's now a must-have wardrobe staple, similar to that of the t-shirt or a pair of jeans.Diane von Furstenberg Celebrates 40 Years of the Wrap Dress | Erin Cunningham | January 14, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
All of a sudden the Writer and the Sketcher found themselves thrust into the presence of He-who-must-be-obeyed.
All of a sudden, with one accord, they put to the Sphinx the question that He-who-must-be-obeyed had asked them.
Had not He-who-must-be-obeyed ordered them to seek out the solution of the Great Conundrum?
The starching, the fluting, the ironing, all take precious hours that might be employed upon some of the must-haves.The Secret of a Happy Home (1896) | Marion Harland
It was that terrible once-on-board-the-lugger-and-the-girl-is-mine-I-must-and-shall-possess-her feeling in its most acute form.The Limit | Ada Leverson
British Dictionary definitions for must (1 of 5)
used as an auxiliary to express obligation or compulsion: you must pay your dues . In this sense, must does not form a negative. If used with a negative infinitive it indicates obligatory prohibition
used as an auxiliary to indicate necessity: I must go to the bank tomorrow
used as an auxiliary to indicate the probable correctness of a statement: he must be there by now
used as an auxiliary to indicate inevitability: all good things must come to an end
(used as an auxiliary to express resolution)
on the part of the speaker when used with I or we: I must finish this
on the part of another or others as imputed to them by the speaker, when used with you, he, she, they, etc: let him get drunk if he must
(used emphatically) used as an auxiliary to express conviction or certainty on the part of the speaker: he must have reached the town by now, surely; you must be joking
(foll by away) used with an implied verb of motion to express compelling haste: I must away
an essential or necessary thing: strong shoes are a must for hill walking
British Dictionary definitions for must (2 of 5)
mustiness or mould
British Dictionary definitions for must (3 of 5)
the newly pressed juice of grapes or other fruit ready for fermentation
British Dictionary definitions for must (4 of 5)
a variant spelling of musth
British Dictionary definitions for must- (5 of 5)
indicating that something is highly recommended or desirable: a must-see film; this season's must-haves
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Other Idioms and Phrases with must
see a must; show must go on.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.