Definition of necessity in English:


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nounplural noun necessities

  • 1The fact of being required or indispensable.

    ‘the necessity of providing parental guidance should be apparent’
    • ‘the overriding theme is the necessity for choice’
    • ‘But the fact that the necessity for dialogue has to be stressed in the more than 50-year-old alliance shows how tense relations are in reality.’
    • ‘This year there has been no necessity for farmers to choose between the census or the simplified systems.’
    • ‘The necessity to have access to larger markets is absolutely crucial.’
    • ‘The necessity for a new route has also been questioned, amid suggestions that the existing Killarney / Farranfore road could be upgraded and re-aligned.’
    • ‘Such laws, he said, were ‘in danger of discrediting our parliament if we let that necessity to have high standards in public life lead to an intrusion into private family life’.’
    • ‘No, there are very serious differences, historical differences, and from the practical point of view there is no necessity to export democracy.’
    • ‘The necessity for a sewage scheme to be installed in Shrule because of the serious health hazard that exists there, has been raised with the County Medical Officer.’
    • ‘This being the case, there is no real necessity to introduce new laws hurriedly.’
    • ‘As well as the urgent necessity for further resources, there is also a crying need to better manage the resources that we already have.’
    • ‘There is no necessity to hospitalize the patient.’
    • ‘The necessity for clarity of meaning for his listening public imposed a new discipline on both his poetry and prose pieces and this improved his work, exposing obscurities.’
    • ‘The necessity to make ports of entry more secure is acute.’
    • ‘There is rarely any necessity to trim the plants, though there might be an occasional need to remove dried leaves, wilted flowers and lifeless stems.’
    • ‘These people seem to live in an alternate reality where there is no necessity for their words to correspond to anything that happens in the world.’
    • ‘The long-felt necessity for a state-of-the art gallery of art was realised at last with the initiative of the State Government.’
    • ‘I believe that the economic necessity for innovation and creativity will ultimately drive greater acceptance of diversity.’
    • ‘They recognized the absolute necessity of having some maturity in the country's leadership.’
    • ‘He was little more than contemptuous of those who questioned the necessity of war.’
    • ‘Their stance demonstrates the utter necessity of this unwelcome war.’
    • ‘He stressed the necessity for exercising economy and using the minimum of water.’
    • ‘In that context, I stressed the necessity of repudiating all forms of U.S. patriotism.’
    • ‘However, the existence of representative government doesn't obviate the necessity of enquiry.’
    • ‘A software package was developed which obviated the necessity of having instructors in every class.’
    essential requirement, prerequisite, indispensable item, indispensable thing, essential, requisite, necessary, fundamental, basic
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Unavoidability.
      ‘the necessity of growing old’
      • ‘On the level of the abstract theory of capital expansion and exploitation, it is not possible to argue for the inevitable necessity of the North-South divide.’
      • ‘At this time thinking was dominated by Kant who had stated that Euclidean geometry is the inevitable necessity of thought.’
      • ‘Like theoretical reasoning, practical reasoning seeks in a sense to demonstrate the necessity of certain actions.’
      • ‘However, no systematic rules for the necessity of a certain sequence have been recognized.’
      • ‘Accordingly, this application has arguable probability, not inexorable logical or theological necessity.’
      • ‘Annie clutched her teddy to her chest tightly and felt every conceivable option she could have had in her life melt into a single inescapable necessity.’
      • ‘In the case of the necessity of substance, there is certainly a conception of a ‘whole’ which is just the sum of its parts and therefore something whose identity is dependent upon that of its parts.’
      • ‘Underneath this official language of inevitability and necessity, Woolf detects an irrepressible internal pressure.’
      • ‘Of necessity there will be a certain amount of overlapping, because many of the same arguments, or approximations thereof, have been employed by more than one critic.’
      • ‘For Burke, expedience and necessity was everything - it was not only inevitable but necessary that America free itself from the yoke of English rule.’
      • ‘Men never do any good, he asserts, except by necessity.’
      inevitability, unavoidability, certainty, inescapability, inexorability, ineluctability
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    2. 1.2A state of things or circumstances enforcing a certain course.
      ‘created more by necessity than design’
      • ‘Of course, political necessity prevented the president from blurting the awkward truth that the nation is already running near-record deficits.’
      • ‘Political ideology is the result of individuals making statements about the world based on theory, and in many cases, political necessity.’
      • ‘It is driven by political necessity, and racial opportunism.’
      • ‘In ordinary life, explanations that invoke chance, necessity, or design cover every eventuality.’
      • ‘What made religious toleration and later freedom of conscience possible in England was not theoretical argument but political necessity.’
      • ‘In his political writings, necessity ousts God.’
      • ‘Ending the draft was a political and moral necessity.’
      • ‘In many cases it was financial necessity that forced great pugilists back, with disastrous consequences.’
      • ‘Like the wolf or the deer, travellers' actions are dictated by practical necessity rather than political idealism.’
      • ‘But they were warned beforehand that they should not exceed the limit of the bare necessity of the war.’
      • ‘All these were developments brought about through the perceived economic necessity of the time.’
      • ‘But the decision to exit might be dictated by necessity more than bad faith.’
      • ‘Inserting amendments as and when necessity arises would have been a better strategy.’
      • ‘Vacations when you have kids are somewhat constrained by necessity.’
      • ‘Necessity had forced him to discover more about his flying, once again.’
      • ‘Patients can often figure out ingenious ways to treat themselves when necessity forces their hand.’
      • ‘Such people are forced by necessity to buy the cheapest ticket possible.’
      • ‘But necessity requires that I have to have at least a bit of help from each of you against him.’
      • ‘But in all likelihood, bureaucratic necessity drove most police transfers.’
      • ‘Necessity drove him to see if he could get to the corner shop on his own.’
      • ‘Basically the self is two things: the self is relational; all that means is, we are certain things by necessity in the world.’
      force of circumstance, pressure of circumstance, need, obligation, call, exigency
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  • 2An indispensable thing.

    ‘a good book is a necessity when traveling’
    • ‘These patients do not have even basic necessities such as clothes, soap and toothpaste.’
    • ‘Health care is not a golf game, it's a human necessity.’
    • ‘You drastically cut back on basic necessities such as food or travel to pay creditors.’
    • ‘Each of the group was allowed to bring three basic necessities - a torch, a sleeping bag and warm clothes.’
    • ‘As soon as she arrived at her room, she began to pack a few nondescript clothes and a few basic necessities.’
    • ‘The ship's commander refused to pass on even clothes, food and basic necessities to his prisoners.’
    • ‘Sleep ranks at the top of the list of human necessities - right along with air, water and food.’
    • ‘The impact of the war will be felt particularly on two heavily-traded basic necessities, oil and food.’
    • ‘Sophisticated telecommunications have become a basic necessity of everyday life.’
    • ‘Hundreds of thousands of people lack the basic necessities of life and are vulnerable to disease and possibly starvation.’
    • ‘Basic medical necessities, however, are either nonexistent or in short supply.’
    • ‘Morphine had become an " absolute necessity of life " for this user.’
    • ‘Internationalism is not simply a utopian ideal, but an urgent practical necessity.’
    • ‘Streams of people packed hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores to stockpile household necessities.’
    • ‘Apart from beer and fags the household necessities in most families are bought by women.’
    • ‘Store clothing, dishes, food and other household necessities within easy reach.’
    • ‘By all means, spend your available cash on necessities like food, shelter and clothing.’
    • ‘So in some cases, it's perceived by the employer as a business necessity.’
    • ‘Employers have moved diversity from a " nice thing to do " to a business necessity.’
    • ‘Mayor Street defends the cuts as an unpleasant necessity due to the city's financial straits.’
    • ‘I would now like to share with you friends, another crucial requirement and necessity for our country.’
    essential requirement, prerequisite, indispensable item, indispensable thing, essential, requisite, necessary, fundamental, basic
    View synonyms
  • 3Philosophy
    The principle according to which something must be so, by virtue either of logic or of natural law.

    ‘But since the Idea of Causation is a necessary condition of the very possibility of objective empirical knowledge, Newton's laws must share this necessity.’
    • ‘Of necessity it must deal with a ruling class that owns the material means of extracting or distributing information, or with a producing class that extracts and distributes.’
    • ‘The reaction of some to this whole exercise will be to say that it fortifies a dislike they had always had for natural necessity - even before it was relativised to a time.’
    • ‘In addition, God has, though not with metaphysical necessity, all the moral perfections.’
    • ‘Keep in mind, though, that not all entities, according to Aquinas, have an essence, though all, by necessity, have a form.’
    • ‘Moreover, the vital role played by the truths given above in all scientific explanation persuaded Kant that a theory of objectivity would also provide an explanation of natural necessity.’
    • ‘Pre-biotic natural selection and chemical necessity cannot, as a logical matter, explain the origin of biological information.’
    • ‘However, if we're talking about deontic necessity - the logic of what ought to be - then things are different.’
    • ‘And in obeying this necessity, Spinoza goes on to argue, we are completely free.’
    • ‘The necessity which causation involves is at most ‘natural’ or ‘physical’ necessity, not metaphysical necessity.’
    • ‘He strongly objected, however, to any suggestion that necessity can also be properly attributed to the properties or relationships of the things described in such sentences.’
    • ‘By art, Benjamin means the interpretive, cognitive processes which by necessity always dominate a process such as painting.’
    • ‘The logic of value can only constitute a necessity in the sense in which Hegel presents necessity.’
    • ‘Hume notes the criticism that necessity undermines morality since it eliminates moral choice.’
    • ‘Any such project must, by necessity, be selective.’
    • ‘Modal logic is the logic of possibility and necessity and the study of modal logic, as a discipline, has flourished in the latter half of the twentieth century.’
    • ‘Capitalism, by necessity, must do this in order to establish and support inequality because Capitalism is inequality.’
    • ‘Such events constitute given facts and their conjunctions exhaust the objective content of our idea of natural necessity.’
    • ‘If you have partial darkness you must by necessity also have partial light.’
    • ‘He also believed that moral agency and freedom are compatible with metaphysical necessity.’
    • ‘Hence, masculinity, femininity and homosexuality were transformed from the realm of biological necessity to that of custom.’
    1. 3.1A condition that cannot be otherwise, or a statement asserting this.
      ‘The absolute necessity of the judgment is only a conditioned necessity of the thing, or of the predicate in the judgment.’
      • ‘Whence the force of the second ‘not’, which I take to be more than just the assertion of a pragmatic necessity in the teeth of radical scepticism.’
      • ‘Artists of this region have always created art out of a necessity that transcends the restrictive conditions imposed upon them.’
      • ‘If that is the case, intervention, when it is constructive, is an objective necessity, so that auditing its personnel could be introduced.’
      • ‘There is no evidence that it was for Foucault, nor that he intended to suggest anything other than realization of the fact of observation as a critical necessity.’
      • ‘Some critics may see this as collaborating with enemies of the environment, but Herd understands this as a necessity that parallels the balance of mankind and nature.’
      • ‘Robespierre was a disciple of Rousseau - both considered the general will an absolute necessity.’
      • ‘Vengeance may hold a primitive necessity, but it offers neither redemption nor relief.’
      stipulation, constraint, prerequisite, precondition, requirement, rule, term, specification, provision, proviso, qualification
      View synonyms



/nəˈsesədē/ /nəˈsɛsədi/


    necessity is the mother of invention
    • When the need for something becomes imperative, you are forced to find ways of getting or achieving it.

      ‘As is the case around the world, necessity is the mother of invention and innovative cooking techniques developed to make the most of what the land could provide.’
      • ‘If necessity is the mother of invention, Hurricane Katrina has forced some in this city to reinvent the way they do business.’
      • ‘If necessity is the mother of invention, these nations are in a good position to innovate in discovering and deploying applications that are of value to rural populations.’
      • ‘They say necessity is the mother of invention, and Wright has done a masterful job shaping his four-guard offense in the wake of Sumpter's knee injury.’
      • ‘After all, necessity is the mother of invention, even in golf.’
      • ‘If necessity is the mother of invention, staring at a wall of trees numbering some 100,000 per hectare ought to get you thinking.’
      • ‘They say necessity is the mother of invention, and that's how Thomas developed his versatile role last season.’
      • ‘As in many types of discovery, necessity is the mother of invention.’
      • ‘The idea is that necessity isn't always the mother of invention.’
      • ‘Necessity being the mother of invention, he improvised where he had to.’
    of necessity
    • Unavoidably.

      ‘to alleviate labor shortages employers will, of necessity, offer better deals for part-timers’
      • ‘It is, of necessity, one that is inescapably based on discrimination and discernment.’
      • ‘This must of necessity bring her office and the judiciary into disrepute.’
      • ‘Whoever rejects it does, of necessity, fly to anarchy or to despotism.’
      • ‘Australia would of necessity be less dependent on the American logistic system.’
      • ‘The eighteen essays of necessity cover a wide range of topics for a period beginning in about 1880.’
      • ‘Teaching at A-level is indeed often, of necessity, focused on passing the exam.’
      • ‘All cooking was done in the oven or on the open fire, and of necessity we always had a fine selection of grimy bottomed pans.’
      • ‘Its loyalties are divided, of necessity, and the imperatives at work are contradictory.’
      • ‘This is all aided and abetted by the amazing assertion that hard work of necessity brings rewards.’
      • ‘Their culture and way of life must of necessity reflect a human-centred moral order.’
      • ‘It's just that the definition of either half of that primal sentence is, of necessity, arbitrary.’
      • ‘This of necessity involved the expulsion of those who inhabited the land.’
      • ‘The prints made from such a plate are of necessity mirror images of the original drawings.’
      • ‘The tone is of necessity at variance with that of everything that comes before it.’


Late Middle English from Old French necessite, from Latin necessitas, from necesse ‘be needful’.