View synonyms for needy


[ nee-dee ]


, need·i·er, need·i·est.
  1. in a condition of need or want; extremely poor and not having the basic necessities:

    If your car is serviceable, it will be repaired and donated to a needy family.

  2. having or exhibiting an excessive emotional need, as for attention, intimacy, or reassurance:

    As he became more competent and less needy, his interpersonal relationships improved.

  3. having many needs to be met:

    Cats aren’t as needy as dogs.


, (used with a plural verb)
  1. Usually the needy. Sometimes Disparaging and Offensive. extremely poor people collectively.


/ ˈniːdɪ /


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

      the needy

Discover More

Other Words From

  • need·i·ly adverb
  • un·need·y adjective

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of needy1

First recorded in 1125–75; Middle English nedi; need, -y 1

Discover More

Example Sentences

In the United States, concerns are highest for the neediest students, those who live in poverty, have special needs and are English Language Learners — but month after month of disrupted education will affect every child.

Marshall’s Democratic opponent, Barbara Bollier, 62, a state senator who only recently left the Republican Party, is also a physician and has centered her platform on pandemic response and expanding health care for needy Kansans.

So the EV maker has long collected fistfuls of credits and found lots of needy buyers, Honda among them.

From Fortune

The department says it could give more money to the neediest neighborhoods and boost nearly funded projects over their last hurdle.

In some cases, an elder chick would also offer food to the neediest sibling, which called out incessantly, irrespective of whether it groomed or not.

As a way to be more available to needy souls outside the church, Williams took a clerk job at Walgreens pharmacy.

The foundation, named after her mother, provides financial help to needy families that are infertile.

Fatherless and emotionally needy, du Pont was a loner who sought companionship and adoration—usually at great financial cost.

He has close ties with the city political establishment and serves more than 200 needy families a week through his food bank.

The officers—led by a woman named Dawn Lerner—provide food and shelter at the hospital for needy people they find on the road.

A very few weeks flew over the head of the needy man, before he was reduced to the same pitiable straits.

The needy and the poor seek for waters, and there are none: their tongue hath been dry with thirst.

An assistant in the benevolent work of Mme. de la Chanterie, he visited the needy sick whom she pointed out.

By 1775, there were nine free schools endowed by private philanthropists for the poor and needy.

They all evinced a strong religious character, but in addition had a care for the old and needy.


Discover More

More About Needy

What does needy mean?

Needy is an adjective meaning poor. It can also be used as a noun referring collectively to people who are poor or otherwise in need, as in Your donation will help the needy. 

Another, more informal use of needy is as a negative adjective meaning demanding or having a lot needs to be met. It’s especially used to describe someone who requires a lot of attention in a relationship. A similar term is high-maintenance.

Example: The food bank is intended for needy people who have no other way to get food.

Where does needy come from?

The first records of needy come from the 1100s. It comes from the Middle English nedi. It is a combination of the word need and the suffix -y, which means “having or characterized by” and is used to form adjectives from nouns. (Someone who’s hungry has hunger. Someone who’s needy has needs.) Needy has been used as a noun for almost as long. Many adjectives are used as nouns in the same way, such as the rich and the poor. As a noun, needy commonly appears in the redundant phrase the poor and needy. 

Needy is another way of saying someone is in a state of poverty. The term is especially used in the context of charity organizations whose stated mission is to help the needy through donations, community service, and other ways. Helping the needy is encouraged in many religions, and many places of worship take up collections for needy families.

The more informal use of needy is especially applied to relationship partners. It’s always negative and is often used alongside other negative adjectives like clingy and naggy. A person who’s described as needy in this sense has a lot of needs, and they expect and usually demand their needs to be prioritized above those of others.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to needy?

  • needier (comparative adjective)
  • neediest (superlative adjective)
  • needily (adverb)
  • unneedy (adjective)

What are some synonyms for needy?

What are some words that share a root or word element with needy



What are some words that often get used in discussing needy?


How is needy used in real life?

When it means “poor” or “the poor,” needy is especially used in the context of charity. When it’s used to describe a person as demanding, it’s always negative—it might even be given as the reason someone broke up with the person they were dating.



Try using needy!

Which of the following terms is NOT a synonym for needy?

A. impoverished
B. poor
C. wealthy
D. in need




needs testNéel