- IPA: /niːd/, X-SAMPA: /ni:d/
- Rhymes: -iːd
- Homophone: knead, kneed
- ( countable and uncountable ) A requirement for something .
- Something required .
- Adjectives often used with "need": urgent, dire, desperate, strong, unmet, bad, basic, critical, essential, big, terrible, modest, elementary, daily, everyday, special, educational, environmental, human, personal, financial, emotional, medical, nutritional, spiritual, public, developmental, organizational, legal, fundamental, audio-visual, psychological, corporate, societal, psychosocial, functional, additional, caloric, private, monetary, physiological, mental .
- ( obsolete ) To be necessary ( to someone ).
- ( transitive ) To have an absolute requirement for .
- ( transitive ) To want strongly; to feel that one must have something .
- ( modal verb ) To be obliged or required ( to do something ) .
- The verb need is construed in a few different ways:
- With a direct object, as in “I need your help.”
- With a to-infinitive, as in “I need to go.” Here, the subject of need serves implicitly as the subject of the infinitive .
- With a clause of the form “for [object] to [verb phrase]”, or simply “[object] to [verb phrase]” as in “I need for this to happen” or “I need this to happen.” In both variants, the object serves as the subject of the infinitive .
- As a modal verb, with a bare infinitive; in negative polarity contexts, such as questions ( “Need I say more?” ), with negative expressions such as not ( “It need not happen today”; “No one need ever know” ), and with similar constructions ( “There need only be a few”; “it need be signed only by the president”; “I need hardly explain the error” ). Need in this use does not have inflected forms, aside from the contraction needn’t .
- With a gerund-participle, as in “The car needs washing”, or ( in certain dialects ) with a past participle, as in “The car needs washed” ( both meaning roughly “The car needs to be washed” ) .
- With a direct object and a predicative complement, as in “We need everyone here on time” ( meaning roughly “We need everyone to be here on time” ) or “I need it gone” ( meaning roughly “I need it to be gone” ) .
- In certain dialects, and colloquially in certain others, with an unmarked reflexive pronoun, as in “I need me a car.”
- A sentence such as “I need you to sit down” or “you need to sit down” is more polite than the bare command “sit down”, but less polite than “please sit down”. It is considered somewhat condescending and infantilizing, hence dubbed by some “the kindergarten imperative”, but is quite common in American usage.
- ( desire ): desire, wish for, would like, want, will ( archaic )
- ( lack ): be without, lack
- ( require ): be in need of, require
From Middle English need, nede, partly from Old English nīed, nēad ( “necessity, inevitableness, need, urgent requirement, compulsion, duty; errand, business; difficulty, hardship, distress, trouble, pain; violence, force” ), from Proto-Germanic *naudiz, *nauþiz ( “need, trouble, force, distress, compulsion, fate, destiny” ), from Proto-Indo-European *nAut- ( “torment, misfortune” ), from Proto-Indo-European *nāw- ( “the dead, corpse” ); and partly from Old English nēod ( “desire, longing; zeal, eagerness, diligence, earnestness, earnest endeavor; pleasure, delight” ), from Proto-Germanic *neudō, *neudaz ( “wish, urge, desire, longing” ), from Proto-Indo-European *new- ( “to incline, tend, move, push, nod, wave” ). Cognate with Scots nede ( “need” ), North Frisian nud ( “hardship, danger, fear, self-defense, compulsion, control” ), West Frisian need ( “need” ), Dutch nood ( “need, want, distress, peril” ), German Not ( “need, distress, necessity, hardship” ), Swedish nöd ( “distress, need, necessity, want” ), Icelandic neyð, nauð ( “distress, emergency, need” ), North Frisian njoe ( “requirement, foredeal, benefit, convenience” ), Middle Low German nüt ( “desire, need, longing” ), Middle High German niet ( “longing, desire, eagerness, zeal” ), German niedlich ( “desirable, appealing, lovely, cute” ). More at needly .
From Old English nēodian .
Explanation of need by Wordnet Dictionary