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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.
Origin of necessity
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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for necessity
  • They were completely convincing as to the urgency of the situation and the necessity of the surgery.
  • They should be motivated as much by interest as they are by necessity.
  • If you need more than 5 thats fine but its not a necessity.
  • The first challenge is that comparative effectiveness research, by necessity, focuses on broad populations of patients.
  • The age categories listed below are, of necessity, arbitrary.
  • The application is a result of necessity and curiosity.
  • Folks pushed into entrepreneurship because of a life change such as unemployment are often called "necessity" entrepreneurs.
  • Only necessity is the mother of invention.
  • Spending is far easier to justify for a necessity than for a luxury, whether on cash or credit.
  • Makes it a necessity.
British Dictionary definitions for necessity


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 necessity

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 necessity


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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