[nuh-ses-i-tee] /nəˈsɛs ɪ ti/

noun, plural necessities.
something or indispensable:
food, shelter, and other necessities of life.
the fact of being or indispensable; indispensability:
the necessity of adequate housing.
an imperative requirement or need for something:
the necessity for a quick decision.
the state or fact of being or inevitable:
to face the necessity of testifying in court.
an unavoidable need or compulsion to do something:
not by choice but by necessity.
a state of being in financial need; poverty:
a family in dire necessity.
Philosophy. the quality of following inevitably from logical, physical, or moral laws.
of necessity, as an inevitable result; unavoidably; necessarily:
Our trip to China must of necessity be postponed for a while.
noun (pl) -ties
(sometimes pl) something needed for a desired result; prerequisite: necessities of life
a condition or set of circumstances, such as physical laws or social rules, that inevitably requires a certain result: it is a matter of necessity to wear formal clothes when meeting the Queen
the state or quality of being obligatory or unavoidable
urgent requirement, as in an emergency or misfortune: in time of necessity we must all work together
poverty or want
(rare) compulsion through laws of nature; fate


of necessity, inevitably; necessarily

late 14c., “constraining power of circumstances,” from Old French necessité “need, necessity; privation, poverty; distress, torment; obligation, duty” (12c.), from Latin necessitatem (nominative necessitas) “compulsion, need for attention, unavoidableness, destiny,” from necesse (see necessary). Meaning “condition of being in need” in English is from late 15c.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention. [Richard Franck, c.1624-1708, English author and angler, “Northern Memoirs,” 1658]

To maken vertu of necessite is in Chaucer. Related: Necessities.

In addition to the idiom beginning with


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