• IPA: /nɪˈsɛsəti/


  1. The quality or state of being necessary, unavoidable, or absolutely requisite.
    I bought a new table out of necessity. My old one was ruined.
  2. The condition of being needy; desperate need; lack
  3. Something necessary; a requisite; something indispensable.
    • 20th century, Tenzin Gyatso (attributed)
      Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.
    A tent is a necessity if you plan on camping.
  4. Something which makes an act or an event unavoidable; an irresistible force; overruling power
    • 1804, Wordsworth, The Small Celandine
      I stopped, and said with inly muttered voice,
      'It doth not love the shower, nor seek the cold:
      This neither is its courage nor its choice,
      But its necessity in being old.
  5. The negation of freedom in voluntary action; the subjection of all phenomena, whether material or spiritual, to inevitable causation; necessitarianism.
  6. (legal) Greater utilitarian good; used in justification of a criminal act.
    doctrine of necessity
  7. (legal, in the plural) Indispensable requirements (of life).
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