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[nes-uh-ser-ee] /ˈnɛs əˌsɛr i/
being essential, indispensable, or requisite:
a necessary part of the motor.
happening or existing by necessity:
a necessary change in our plans.
acting or proceeding from compulsion or necessity; not free; involuntary:
a necessary agent.
  1. (of a proposition) such that a denial of it involves a self-contradiction.
  2. (of an inference or argument) such that its conclusion cannot be false if its supporting premises are true.
  3. (of a condition) such that it must exist if a given event is to occur or a given thing is to exist.
    Compare sufficient (def 2).
noun, plural necessaries.
something necessary or requisite; necessity.
necessaries, Law. food, clothing, etc., required by a dependent or incompetent and varying with his or her social or economic position or that of the person upon whom he or she is dependent.
Chiefly New England. a privy or toilet.
1300-50; Middle English necessarie < Latin necessārius unavoidable, inevitable, needful, equivalent to necess(e) (neuter indeclinable adj.) unavoidable, necessary + -ārius -ary
Related forms
necessariness, noun
quasi-necessary, adjective
Can be confused
necessary, necessitous (see synonym study at the current entry)
1. required, needed. Necessary, essential, indispensable, requisite indicate something vital for the fulfillment of a need. Necessary applies to that without which a condition cannot be fulfilled or to an inevitable consequence of certain events, conditions, etc.: Food is necessary to life. Multiplicity is a necessary result of division. Indispensable applies to something that cannot be done without or removed from the rest of a unitary condition: Food is indispensable to living things. He made himself indispensable as a companion. That which is essential forms a vitally necessary condition of something: Air is essential to red-blooded animals. It is essential to understand the matter clearly. Requisite applies to what is thought necessary to fill out, complete, or perfect something: She had all the requisite qualifications for a position. 5. requirement, requisite, essential.
1. dispensable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for quasinecessary


needed to achieve a certain desired effect or result; required
resulting from necessity; inevitable the necessary consequences of your action
  1. (of a statement, formula, etc) true under all interpretations or in all possible circumstances
  2. (of a proposition) determined to be true by its meaning, so that its denial would be self-contradictory
  3. (of a property) essential, so that without it its subject would not be the entity it is
  4. (of an inference) always yielding a true conclusion when its premises are true; valid
  5. (of a condition) entailed by the truth of some statement or the obtaining of some state of affairs Compare sufficient (sense 2)
(philosophy) (in a nonlogical sense) expressing a law of nature, so that if it is in this sense necessary that all As are B, even although it is not contradictory to conceive of an A which is not B, we are licensed to infer that if something were an A it would have to be B
(rare) compelled, as by necessity or law; not free
(informal) the necessary, the money required for a particular purpose
(informal) do the necessary, to do something that is necessary in a particular situation
See also necessaries
Word Origin
C14: from Latin necessārius indispensable, from necesse unavoidable
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for quasinecessary
mid-14c. (n.), late 14c. (adj.), from L. necessarius, from necesse "unavoidable, indispensable," originally "no backing away," from ne- "not" + cedere "to withdraw, go away, yield" (see cede). Necessary house "privy" is from c.1600. Related: Necessarily.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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