adjective, need·i·er, need·i·est.

in a condition of need or want; poverty-stricken; impoverished; extremely poor; destitute.


(used with a plural verb) needy persons collectively (usually preceded by the): Help the needy.

Nearby words

  1. needling,
  2. needn't,
  3. needs,
  4. needs test,
  5. needways,
  6. neem,
  7. neem tree,
  8. neenah,
  9. neencephalic,
  10. neencephalon

Origin of needy

1125–75; Middle English nedi; see need, -y1

Related formsneed·i·ly, adverbun·need·y, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for needy

British Dictionary definitions for needy


adjective needier or neediest

  1. in need of practical or emotional support; distressed
  2. (as collective noun; preceded by the)the needy
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 needy



late 12c., neodi "poor, indigent," from need (n.) + adjectival suffix -y (2). Cf. Dutch noodig, German nothig, Old Norse nauðigr. As a noun from mid-14c. Related: Needily; neediness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper