Definition of necessity in English:

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Pronunciation: /nɪˈsɛsɪti/

noun (plural necessities)

1 [mass noun] The state or fact of being required: the necessity of providing parental guidance
More example sentences
  • 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.
indispensability, need, needfulness
1.1The state of being unavoidable: the necessity of growing old
More example sentences
  • 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.
inevitability, unavoidability, certainty, inescapability, inexorability, ineluctability
1.2A situation enforcing a certain course of action: political necessity induced him to consider it
More example sentences
  • 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.
force/pressure of circumstance, need, obligation, call, exigency;
crisis, emergency, urgency;
French force majeure
2An indispensable thing: a good book is a necessity when travelling
More example sentences
  • 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.
3 [mass noun] Philosophy The principle according to which something must be so, by virtue either of logic or of natural law.
Example sentences
  • 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.
3.1 [count noun] A condition that cannot be otherwise, or a statement asserting this.
Example sentences
  • 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.



necessity is the mother of invention

proverb When the need for something becomes essential, you are forced to find ways of getting or achieving it.
Example sentences
  • 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.

of necessity

Unavoidably: to alleviate labour shortages employers will, of necessity, offer better deals for part-timers
More example sentences
  • 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.
necessarily, inevitably, unavoidably, by force of circumstance, inescapably, ineluctably;
by definition, as a matter of course, naturally, automatically, certainly, surely, definitely, incontrovertibly, undoubtedly, axiomatically;
Latin nolens volens
informal like it or not
formal perforce


Late Middle English: from Old French necessite, from Latin necessitas, from necesse 'be needful'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ne¦ces|sity

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