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[nuh-ses-i-tee] /nəˈsɛs ɪ ti/
noun, plural necessities.
something necessary or indispensable:
food, shelter, and other necessities of life.
the fact of being necessary or indispensable; indispensability:
the necessity of adequate housing.
an imperative requirement or need for something:
the necessity for a quick decision.
the state or fact of being necessary or inevitable:
to face the necessity of testifying in court.
an unavoidable need or compulsion to do something:
not by choice but by necessity.
a state of being in financial need; poverty:
a family in dire necessity.
Philosophy. the quality of following inevitably from logical, physical, or moral laws.
of necessity, as an inevitable result; unavoidably; necessarily:
Our trip to China must of necessity be postponed for a while.
1325-75; Middle English necessite < Latin necessitās, equivalent to necess(e) needful + -itās -ity
Related forms
nonnecessity, noun, plural nonnecessities.
supernecessity, noun, plural supernecessities.
3. demand. See need. 6. neediness, indigence, want. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for necessities
  • First, a national lottery, to brighten the humdrum necessities of rationing.
  • Presumably, you drove there to procure the various necessities that support your life and well being.
  • For a long time our species has adapted to environmental changes by changing ways of producing food and other necessities.
  • CS and natural gas are still necessities for the time being.
  • And it really cuts down on your technological necessities.
  • Unable to afford the necessities of life, biological humans would be squeezed out of existence.
  • So this is money that's coming in from abroad to pay for daily necessities, to pay for food, for shelter.
  • The kids particularly liked seeing the packaged food, toothpaste and other daily necessities that were used by the astronauts.
  • Some graduate anyway, if they're able to manage the bureaucratic necessities of earning a degree.
  • Once you've filed your report, and gotten the necessities together, there's really not much left that you can do except wait.
British Dictionary definitions for necessities


noun (pl) -ties
(sometimes pl) something needed for a desired result; prerequisite: necessities of life
a condition or set of circumstances, such as physical laws or social rules, that inevitably requires a certain result: it is a matter of necessity to wear formal clothes when meeting the Queen
the state or quality of being obligatory or unavoidable
urgent requirement, as in an emergency or misfortune: in time of necessity we must all work together
poverty or want
(rare) compulsion through laws of nature; fate
  1. a condition, principle, or conclusion that cannot be otherwise
  2. the constraining force of physical determinants on all aspects of life Compare freedom (sense 8)
  1. the property of being necessary
  2. a statement asserting that some property is essential or statement is necessarily true
  3. the operator that indicates that the expression it modifies is true in all possible worlds Usual symbol □,
of necessity, inevitably; necessarily
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
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Word Origin and History for necessities



late 14c., "constraining power of circumstances," from Old French necessité "need, necessity; privation, poverty; distress, torment; obligation, duty" (12c.), from Latin necessitatem (nominative necessitas) "compulsion, need for attention, unavoidableness, destiny," from necesse (see necessary). Meaning "condition of being in need" in English is from late 15c.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention. [Richard Franck, c.1624-1708, English author and angler, "Northern Memoirs," 1658]
To maken vertu of necessite is in Chaucer. Related: Necessities.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with necessities


In addition to the idiom beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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