Meaning of NECESSARY in English

I. ˈnesə̇ˌserē, -ri, in rapid speech ˈnesˌse- noun

( -es )

Etymology: Middle English necessaries (plural), from Latin necessaria, from neuter plural of necessarius necessary (adjective)



(1) necessaries plural : items (as of food, clothing, shelter, medical care, equipment or furnishing) that cannot be done without : things that must be had (as for the preservation and reasonable enjoyment of life) : essentials

was provided with at least the necessaries of life

gave away so much that he could only have kept just enough to keep himself in bare necessaries — Flora Thompson

household necessaries

specifically : such items as are essential to the proper maintenance and support of those (as married women) who are legally dependent or those (as infants, children, the mentally ill) who are legally incompetent

(2) : one such essential item

salt is a necessary

b. : whatever is essential for some purpose

supplies of the necessary were hard to come by — Brian James

especially : money — used with the

2. chiefly New England : privy 2

II. adjective

Etymology: Middle English necessarie, from Latin necessarius, from necesse unavoidable, inevitable, necessary (from ne not + -cesse, from cedere to withdraw) + -arius -ary — more at no , cede


a. : that must be by reason of the nature of things : that cannot be otherwise by reason of inherent qualities : that is or exists or comes to be by reason of the nature of being and that cannot be or exist or come to be in any other way : that is determined and fixed and inevitable

death is a necessary feature of the human condition

it is necessary that a whole be greater than any of its parts

patience … is a necessary mark of the liberal mind — John Dewey

b. : of, relating to, or having the character of something that is logically required or logically inevitable or that cannot be denied without involving contradiction

a necessary judgment

a necessary relation between two things

a necessary truth

a necessary conclusion

— opposed to contingent

c. : that is inevitably fixed or determined or produced by a previous condition of things

a necessary result

the necessary outcome of the affair


(1) : that is produced in a mechanical way through conditioning (as by previous actions, experiences) so as to be devoid of freedom of the will

a necessary submission to evil

(2) : that is driven by circumstances or other outside forces so as to have little or no independence of volition : not exercising free choice : acting under compulsion

the necessary agent of some crimes

2. : that cannot be done without : that must be done or had : absolutely required : essential , indispensable

food is necessary for all

was necessary to her peace of mind

the necessary secrecy of my trip — F.D.Roosevelt

the necessary conditions of freedom — F.C.Neff

a necessary tool

a necessary law

took all necessary steps

a necessary act

Synonyms: see needful

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.