Definitions and meaning of need
- (Received Pronunciation) enPR: nēd, IPA(key): /niːd/, [nɪi̯d]
- (General American) IPA(key): /nid/
- Homophones: knead, kneed
- Rhymes: -iːd
From Middle English need, nede, a merger of two terms:
- Old English nīed (West Saxon), nēd (Mercian), nēad (“necessity, compulsion, want”), from Proto-West Germanic *naudi, from Proto-Germanic *naudiz, from Proto-Indo-European *neh₂w- (“death”).
- Old English nēod (“desire, longing”), from Proto-West Germanic *neud, from Proto-Germanic *neudaz (“wish, urge, desire, longing”), from Proto-Indo-European *new- (“to incline, tend, move, push, nod, wave”).
need (countable and uncountable, plural needs)
- (countable and uncountable) A requirement for something; something needed.
- Lack of means of subsistence; poverty; indigence; destitution.
- Adjectives often used with “need”: urgent, dire, desperate, strong, unmet, bad, basic, critical, essential, big, terrible, modest, elementary, daily, everyday, special, educational, environmental, human, personal, financial, emotional, medical, nutritional, spiritual, public, developmental, organizational, legal, fundamental, audio-visual, psychological, corporate, societal, psychosocial, functional, additional, caloric, private, monetary, physiological, mental.
From Middle English neden, from Old English nēodian.
need (third-person singular simple present needs, present participle needing, simple past and past participle needed)
- (transitive) To have an absolute requirement for.
- (transitive) To want strongly; to feel that one must have something.
- (modal verb) To be obliged or required (to do something).
- (intransitive) To be required; to be necessary.
- (obsolete, transitive) To be necessary (to someone).
- The verb need is construed in a few different ways:
- With a direct object, as in “I need your help.”
- With a to-infinitive, as in “I need to go.” Here, the subject of need serves implicitly as the subject of the infinitive.
- With a clause of the form “for [object] to [verb phrase]”, or simply “[object] to [verb phrase]” as in “I need for this to happen” or “I need this to happen.” In both variants, the object serves as the subject of the infinitive.
- As a modal verb, with a bare infinitive; in negative polarity contexts, such as questions (“Need I say more?” “Need you have paid so much?”), with negative expressions such as not (“It need not happen today”; “No one need ever know”), and with similar constructions (“There need only be one”; “it need be signed only by the president”; “I need hardly explain it”). Need in this use does not have inflected forms, aside from the contraction needn’t.
- With a gerund-participle, as in “The car needs washing”, or (in certain dialects) with a past participle, as in “The car needs washed” (both meaning roughly “The car needs to be washed”).
- With a direct object and a predicative complement, as in “We need everyone here on time” (meaning roughly “We need everyone to be here on time”) or “I need it gone” (meaning roughly “I need it to be gone”).
- In certain dialects, and colloquially in certain others, with an unmarked reflexive pronoun, as in “I need me a car.”
- A sentence such as “I need you to sit down” or “you need to sit down” is politer than the bare command “sit down”, but less polite than “please sit down”. It is considered somewhat condescending and infantilizing, hence dubbed by some “the kindergarten imperative”, but is quite common in American usage.
- In older forms of English, when the pronoun thou was in active use, and verbs used -est for distinct second-person singular indicative forms, the verb need had the form needest, and had neededst for its past tense.
- Similarly, when the ending -eth was in active use for third-person singular present indicative forms, the form needeth was used.
- (desire): desire, wish for, would like, want, will (archaic)
- (lack): be without, lack
- (require): be in need of, require
- a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle
- citation needed
- needed, unneeded
- need-to-know basis
- need at OneLook Dictionary Search
- “need” in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
- need in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
- Dene, Dené, Eden, Ende, deen, dene, eden, ende
need (genitive nende, partitive neid)
- these, those
From Old Frisian nēd, nād, from Proto-Germanic *naudiz.
need c (plural neden)
- “need”, in Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal (in Dutch), 2011
- to have an urgent or essential use for.
(source: Collins Scrabble Dictionary)