- of necessity; necessarily (usually preceded or followed by must): It must needs be so. It needs must be.
Origin of needs
- 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 for need on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for needs
“The institution of marraige [sic] is under attack in our society and it needs to be strengthened,” Bush wrote.Jeb Bush’s Unseen Anti-Gay Marriage Emails
January 9, 2015
But the other thing that needs to be done is for us citizens to do.Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Our Duty Is to Keep Charlie Hebdo Alive
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
January 8, 2015
Ney said McDonnell needs to “keep a stiff lip” and stay in close contact with family members.Abramoff’s Advice for Virginia’s New Jailhouse Guv
Tim Mak, Jackie Kucinich
January 7, 2015
Following the Apatow references, Marge informs Homer that she needs to use the “Porta Potty.”Here’s the Lost Judd Apatow ‘Simpsons’ Episode, Penned by Judd Apatow
January 6, 2015
It needs to be said: bigotry in the name of religion is still bigotry; child abuse wrapped in a Bible verse is still child abuse.Dear Leelah, We Will Fight On For You: A Letter to a Dead Trans Teen
January 1, 2015
As if you could be trusted with anything again that needs a schoolboy's intelligence.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
He needs a clerk for his law matters, and the Dean said he would speak of me to him.The Armourer's Prentices
Charlotte M. Yonge
Somewhere there is a ship that needs it, or if not, the light does its duty.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
I am extremely affected on my mother's account—more, I must needs say, than on my own.
I must needs try my new-fledged pinions in sonnet, elogy, and madrigal.
- (preceded or foll by must) of necessitywe must needs go; we will go, if needs must
- what is required; necessitiesthe needs of the third world; his needs are modest
- (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 needs
"of necessity, necessarily," in archaic constructions involving must (late 14c.) is from Old English nede, instrumental and genitive singular of nied (see need), used as an adverb reinforcing must, hence the genitive ending.
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.
Idioms and Phrases with needs
In addition to the idiom beginning with need
- needle in a haystack
- needless to say
- need like a hole in the head
- cry for (crying need for).