Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “need”

See all translations

need

verb  /nid/ us  

need verb (MUST HAVE)

[T] to be necessary to have something, or to want something very much: To make pastry, you need flour, fat, and water. Do we need anything from the store? Will I be needed in the office tomorrow? I need you to advise me on what to wear. I need a rest. [T] infml If you say that you don’t need something, it can mean that you do not want it because it is causing you trouble: I don’t need all this arguing. [T] If you say that someone or something needs something, you can mean that the person or thing should have it or would benefit from having it: What you need is some hot soup to warm you up. My hair needs to be washed.

need verb (MUST DO)

( present tense needs or need) to have to take an action: [+ to infinitive] He needs to lose weight. [+ to infinitive] Before we make a decision, we need to consider our options. [+ to infinitive] I need to do some shopping on my way home. I don’t think we need ask him. Nothing need be done about this before next week. [+ to infinitive] As it turned out, I didn’t need to buy any extra material (= I did it, although I didn’t have to).

need

noun [U]  /nid/ us  

need noun [U] (SOMETHING YOU MUST HAVE)

something that you must or should have, or the lack of this: There’s a growing need for low-cost housing. Need can be a reason: [+ to infinitive] I don’t think there’s any need to worry. Need is also a feeling or state of greatly wanting something: [+ to infinitive] a desperate need to be loved We have no need for your sympathy. Need is also the state of being necessary: Help yourself to supplies as the need arises. [+ to infinitive] There’s no need to buy any more food.in need People who are in need do not have enough money or need some type of help: The money will go to those who are most in need.in need of Someone who is in need of something must or should have it: They’re in need of help.
(Definition of need from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of need?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “need” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

ellipsis

a situation in which words are left out of a sentence but the sentence can still be understood

Word of the Day

Euphemisms (Words used to Avoid Offending People)

by Kate Woodford,
March 04, 2015
​​​ We recently looked at the language that we use to describe lies and lying. One area of lying that we considered was ‘being slightly dishonest, or not speaking the complete truth’. One reason for not speaking the complete truth is to avoid saying something that might upset or offend people. Words and

Read More 

snapchat verb

March 02, 2015
to send someone a message using the photomessaging application Snapchat We used to have a thing until he got a girlfriend. now

Read More