Need definition and meaning

Need definition: If you need something, or need to do something, you cannot successfully achieve what you… | Meaning, pronunciation, translations and examples

Word forms:


needs


,


needing


,


needed



language note:

Need sometimes behaves like an ordinary verb, for example ‘She needs to know’ and
‘She doesn’t need to know’ and sometimes like a modal, for example ‘No-one need know,’
‘She needn’t know,’ or, in more formal English, ‘She need not know.’


1.


transitive verb



[

no cont

]

If you

need

something, or

need


to

do something, you cannot successfully achieve what you want or live properly without
it.


He desperately needed money.


I need to make a phone call.


I need you to do something for me.


I need you here, Wally.


2.


transitive verb



[

no cont

]

If an object or place

needs

something done to it, that action should be done to improve the object or place.
If a task

needs

doing, it should be done to improve a particular situation.


The building needs quite a few repairs.


…a garden that needs tidying.


3.


singular noun

If there is a

need


for

something, that thing would improve a situation or something cannot happen without
it.


Mr. Forrest believes there is a need for other similar schools throughout the country.


“I think we should see a specialist.”—”I don’t think there’s any need for that.”


4.


transitive verb



[

with neg

]

If you say that someone does not

need


to

do something, you are telling them not to do it, or advising or suggesting that they
should not do it.


Well, for Heaven’s sake, you don’t need to apologize.


5.


transitive verb



[

no cont, with neg

]

If you tell someone that they don’t

need


to

do something, or that something

need

not happen, you are telling them that that thing is not necessary, in order to make
them feel better.


He replied, with a reassuring smile, “Oh, you don’t need to worry about them.”


6.


transitive verb



[

no cont

]

You use

don’t need


to

when you are giving someone permission not to do something.


You don’t need to wait for me.


7.


modal verb



[

with neg

]

If someone

needn’t


have

done something, they didn’t need to do it.


She could have made the sandwich herself; her mother needn’t have bothered to do
anything.


I was a little nervous when I announced my engagement to Grace, but I needn’t have
worried.


8.


transitive verb



[

no cont, with neg

]

If someone

didn’t need to

do something, it wasn’t necessary or useful for them to do it, although they did
it.


You didn’t need to give me any more money you know, but thank you.


9.


modal verb

You use

need

in expressions such as

I need hardly say

and

I needn’t add

to emphasize that the person you are talking to already knows what you are going
to say.



[

emphasis

]


I needn’t add that if you fail to do as I ask, you will suffer the consequences.


10.


See


in need


11.


See


in need of


12.


See


if need be


More Synonyms of

need


COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary

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