[ need-fuh l ]
/ ˈnid fəl /


necessary or required: needful supplies.

Nearby words

  1. nee,
  2. need,
  3. need like a hole in the head,
  4. needed,
  5. needfire,
  6. needfully,
  7. needham,
  8. neediness,
  9. needle,
  10. needle bath


    the needful, Slang. money, especially immediately available cash: They haven't the needful for a car right now.

Origin of needful

Middle English word dating back to 1125–75; see origin at need, -ful

Related formsneed·ful·ly, adverbneed·ful·ness, nounun·need·ful, adjectiveun·need·ful·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for needful

British Dictionary definitions for needful


/ (ˈniːdfʊl) /


necessary; needed; required
archaic needy; poverty-stricken


the needful informal money or fundsdo you have the needful?
do the needful to perform a necessary task
Derived Formsneedfully, adverbneedfulness, noun

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

Word Origin and History for needful



late 12c., niedfulle, "needy," from need (n.) + -ful. Meaning "characterized by need" is from mid-13c.; meaning "indispensable" is from mid-14c.; noun meaning "what is necessary" is from 1709. Colloquial sense of "cash" is recorded from 1774 in phrase the needful "money." Related: Needfully.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper