Denotation vs. Connotation


[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
Historical Examples
  • But, as it most fortunately does exist, this is not needful.

    The English Novel George Saintsbury
  • It was needful to implore them since they found the assurance so difficult to believe.

  • Of the particulars of that great national mourning which bowed the whole land, it is not needful to speak.

    Men of Our Times Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Money was needful to extricate him from this drudgery and let him follow up his aspirations.

  • "But one thing is needful," at the same meal, had long been his motto; and he was never excessive in the use of even that.

  • The seamen in return purvey the needful luxuries for lumber-camps.

  • He sent a trusty messenger -- one of his stout Gascon henchmen -- over to us with all needful tidings.

    In the Days of Chivalry Evelyn Everett-Green
  • He remained a few moments behind to take some needful things.

    King Philip John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott
  • Then it is needful for me to consider,” said she, “concerning companions and a provision for the lady that is with me?

    The Mabinogion Lady Charlotte Guest
  • But we both know it is not true; I have merely been a needful accessory.

    The Gorgeous Girl Nalbro Bartley
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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