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[need-fuh l] /ˈnid fəl/
necessary or required:
needful supplies.
the needful, Slang. money, especially immediately available cash:
They haven't the needful for a car right now.
Origin of needful
1125-75; Middle English; see need, -ful
Related forms
needfully, adverb
needfulness, noun
unneedful, adjective
unneedfully, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for needful
  • Sometimes environments and selection pressures change radically, and large effect mutations may become needful.
  • Separation, after all, is as native and as needful to us as society.
  • His products are as needful as those of the baker or the weaver.
  • It'll bring in reforms and will do the needful in the future too.
  • She would insist on being loved, and also try to transcend her small, needful self.
  • Solitude is as needful to the imagination as society is wholesome for the character.
  • And for such other needful things, the ox to spare his skin.
  • According to our resolution so is the rate of our progress, and much diligence is needful for him who would make good progress.
  • Let things stand as they are and give your time and efforts to furthering other more helpful and needful opportunities.
  • There was no stove, but the fire-place served all needful purposes.
British Dictionary definitions for needful


necessary; needed; required
(archaic) needy; poverty-stricken
(informal) the needful, money or funds: do you have the needful?
do the needful, to perform a necessary task
Derived Forms
needfully, adverb
needfulness, noun
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 needful

late 12c., niedfulle, "needy," from need (n.) + -ful. Meaning "characterized by need" is from mid-13c.; meaning "indispensable" is from mid-14c.; noun meaning "what is necessary" is from 1709. Colloquial sense of "cash" is recorded from 1774 in phrase the needful "money." Related: Needfully.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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