- something necessary or indispensable: food, shelter, and other necessities of life.
- the fact of being necessary or indispensable; indispensability: the necessity of adequate housing.
- an imperative requirement or need for something: the necessity for a quick decision.
- the state or fact of being necessary or inevitable: to face the necessity of testifying in court.
- an unavoidable need or compulsion to do something: not by choice but by necessity.
- a state of being in financial need; poverty: a family in dire necessity.
- Philosophy. the quality of following inevitably from logical, physical, or moral laws.
- of necessity, as an inevitable result; unavoidably; necessarily: Our trip to China must of necessity be postponed for a while.
Origin of necessity
SynonymsSee more synonyms for necessity on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for necessity
All of these changes to college financing occurred at exactly the time when college education became a necessity.The Student Loan Crisis That Isn’t About Kids at Harvard
November 30, 2014
I had to create plays out of necessity, because African women deserved a voice and a place on the stage.Walking Dead’s Danai Gurira Vs. Boko Haram
Kristi York Wooten
November 30, 2014
After all, the Prince of necessity had to focus on defeating his external enemies.Valerie Jarrett, Obama Consigliere—and Democracy Killer
November 12, 2014
The way San Pedro Prison functions is a necessity as a result, Bolivian journalist Aldo Medinaceli explained to me.Cocaine, Politicians and Wives: Inside the World’s Most Bizarre Prison
October 12, 2014
That was galling for those who described the invasion of Iraq as a conflict of choice, not necessity.The Rhinohawks Come Roaring Back
September 7, 2014
And of necessity, even the noble have their moments of deshabille.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
To Kate, for instance, she was a necessity of existence, like light or air.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
Whoever rejects it does of necessity fly to anarchy or to despotism.
You think I must of necessity, as matters are circumstanced, be Solmes's wife.
She made a virtue of necessity; and the man was quite another man with her. '
- (sometimes plural) something needed for a desired result; prerequisitenecessities of life
- a condition or set of circumstances, such as physical laws or social rules, that inevitably requires a certain resultit is a matter of necessity to wear formal clothes when meeting the Queen
- the state or quality of being obligatory or unavoidable
- urgent requirement, as in an emergency or misfortunein time of necessity we must all work together
- poverty or want
- rare compulsion through laws of nature; fate
- a condition, principle, or conclusion that cannot be otherwise
- the constraining force of physical determinants on all aspects of lifeCompare freedom (def. 8)
- the property of being necessary
- a statement asserting that some property is essential or statement is necessarily true
- the operator that indicates that the expression it modifies is true in all possible worldsUsual symbol: □, ∟
- of necessity inevitably; necessarily
Word Origin and History for necessity
late 14c., "constraining power of circumstances," from Old French necessité "need, necessity; privation, poverty; distress, torment; obligation, duty" (12c.), from Latin necessitatem (nominative necessitas) "compulsion, need for attention, unavoidableness, destiny," from necesse (see necessary). Meaning "condition of being in need" in English is from late 15c.
Necessity is the Mother of Invention. [Richard Franck, c.1624-1708, English author and angler, "Northern Memoirs," 1658]
To maken vertu of necessite is in Chaucer. Related: Necessities.
Idioms and Phrases with necessity
In addition to the idiom beginning with necessity
- necessity is the mother of invention
- make a virtue of necessity
- of necessity