Definition of necessary in English:



  • 1Needed to be done, achieved, or present; essential.

    ‘they granted the necessary planning permission’
    ‘it's not necessary for you to be here’
    • ‘I do not find it necessary to consider these definitions for present purposes.’
    • ‘Now, they feel it necessary to protect themselves'.’
    • ‘Remedies are then prescribed where necessary in order to balance the energy to produce a positive effect.’
    • ‘My policy is to ignore readers who feel it necessary to resort to insults.’
    • ‘We do not think it necessary to consider this issue at length.’
    • ‘I imagine that the Minister and her officials would take whatever steps they deemed necessary to deal with the demand.’
    • ‘Often it's impossible for the architect of a company to make the changes necessary to ensure it survives.’
    • ‘The minister's approval was necessary for the purpose of control and accountability.’
    • ‘Ask yourself what could possibly go wrong and then take preventive actions where necessary.’
    • ‘The question then is, what steps are reasonably necessary to the attainment of that purpose?’
    • ‘Please could you send me the necessary paperwork required to begin this procedure.’
    • ‘Procedural safeguards are also necessary to ensure that the powers are used properly.’
    • ‘Eva takes the boy in but does not give him the skills necessary for his survival.’
    • ‘Killing wasn't fun or heroic; it was simply sometimes necessary for survival.’
    • ‘A jury of experts reviewed a draft of the survey and made changes where necessary.’
    • ‘But hunting with dogs is not natural or necessary in our society today.’
    • ‘We had always stayed out of each others private business, prying only when we deemed it absolutely necessary.’
    • ‘Because the dealer may not follow through on completing and filing the necessary paperwork.’
    • ‘After considering these two requirements, the court may still find it necessary to consider a third factor.’
    • ‘A social worker will be able to help fill out all of the necessary paperwork.’
    • ‘Many developing countries may lack the resources necessary to prevent such outbreaks.’
    • ‘The interference must go no further than is strictly necessary to achieve its permitted purpose.’
    • ‘I didn't tell you because it didn't seem necessary at the time.’
    obligatory, requisite, required, compulsory, mandatory, imperative, demanded, needed, called for, needful
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  • 2Determined, existing, or happening by natural laws or predestination; inevitable.

    ‘a necessary consequence’
    • ‘It is not a necessary consequence, or a condition, of industrialization.’
    • ‘How can one responsibly teach writers who use the reader's revulsion and horror as necessary responses?’
    • ‘The necessary consequence is that there had to be a redefinition of the rights and obligations of the parents, and of those with care of children.’
    • ‘He saw radical skepticism as a necessary consequence of the misery of the human condition.’
    • ‘Some home truths about the migration of people need to be remembered and the necessary consequences drawn.’
    • ‘The necessary consequence of this was political centralization.’
    • ‘It was an almost necessary consequence of using lenses.’
    • ‘As much as I'd like to think that spying doesn't happen, it's going to happen as a necessary consequence of competition.’
    • ‘Perhaps you may think that in this case the continuation of such stringent and draconian sanctions is a regrettable but necessary consequence.’
    • ‘The magazine, he says, is ‘a necessary consequence of their superstar status’.’
    • ‘That delay was to a large extent a necessary consequence of the splitting of the allegations into separate trials.’
    • ‘A necessary consequence of this is that, where they are in conflict, statute law prevails over the common law.’
    • ‘Changes in the direction and rate of relative plate motion are necessary consequences of the evolution of plate mosaics.’
    • ‘But maintaining the separation of church and state is a necessary precondition of liberty.’
    • ‘But biodiversity is a necessary precondition for the long-term maintenance of biological resources.’
    • ‘Other disciplines and artistic representation are an inevitable and necessary part of the mix.’
    • ‘I suppose that if we allow non-resident citizens to vote, this is a necessary consequence.’
    • ‘However, that was no more than the necessary consequence of the change in the legislation.’
    • ‘So urgency cannot be construed as a strictly necessary condition for the status of an impulse or desire as addictive.’
    • ‘If the answer is still yes, you must accept all the necessary consequences.’
    • ‘The principal weakness is that there is no necessary consequence for the validity of a law which is successfully impugned.’
    inevitable, unavoidable, certain, sure, inescapable, inexorable, ineluctable, fated, destined, predetermined, predestined, preordained
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    1. 2.1Philosophy
      (of a concept, statement, etc.) inevitably resulting from the nature of things, so that the contrary is impossible.
      • ‘Bacon and Locke had discussed the question of a necessary knowledge of nature from a scholastic standpoint.’
      • ‘If it is shown that the opinion actually formed is not an opinion of this character, then the necessary opinion does not exist.’
      • ‘There could be no solution, they claimed, until the mind first grasped the necessary idea.’
      • ‘The phenomenon of decadence is as necessary as any increase and advance of life: one is in no position to abolish it.’
      • ‘We ought not to be surprised when Hamlet refers to some necessary question of the play.’
    2. 2.2Philosophy
      (of an agent) having no independent volition.
      • ‘The sixth is that if a man were not a necessary agent he would be ignorant of morality and have no motive to practice it.’


  • 1The basic requirements of life, such as food and warmth.

    ‘not merely luxuries, but also the common necessaries’
    ‘poor people complaining for want of the necessaries of life’
    • ‘This was the principal site for retailing victuals and other necessaries.’
    • ‘Others resort to exploitation, as in the case of an injured officer who, with the help of a resentful assistant, attempts to trade tobacco leaves with the retreating soldiers in exchange for food and other necessaries.’
    • ‘However, my CD drive is broken, and I specifically checked when I ordered that it would be possible to download the necessaries from the internet.’
    • ‘Two or three trips out for provisions and necessaries for the immediate works have given us our first close-hand contact with the beautiful landscape.’
    • ‘Work was about to be resumed at the Emergency Kitchen for the relief of the sick poor of York, which was for the immediate relief of all poor persons who were ill, and too poor to afford the pressing necessaries their sufferings required.’
    • ‘And if you look to the bottom of the bag, you'll find your necessaries.’
    • ‘Bread, margarine, orange juice, jam, fruit and veg, cereals, milk, meat, biscuits and some other necessaries such as kitchen towels, toothpaste, beer and disposable nappies.’
    • ‘There was some space left over in my trolley when I'd bought the necessaries so I filled it up with Christmas booze.’
    • ‘To their credit, Pollack and his scriptwriters have tried to tackle all the necessaries of a proper old style political thriller head on.’
    • ‘She had spent an hour or so showing the captain the necessaries in caring for his mother, and had promised to stop by the following afternoon, just to check on things.’
    • ‘After about another hour of going through information, records, and other such necessaries, we finally were ready to leave, or so I thought.’
    • ‘I picked up enough consumables and necessaries to tide us over the next couple of days.’
    • ‘Taxes on luxuries have some advantage over taxes on necessaries.’
    • ‘The ward nurse gave me a list of necessaries, beginning with soap and ending with a bedpan.’
    • ‘He could supply drovers with all necessaries, including the best brands of liquors and fresh water.’
    • ‘Shelter, medicine, basic schooling, and even necessaries like food and water were now being provided to the million upon million of starving adults, and their children.’
    • ‘I shall have to use a jar of pre-made sauce for that because I'm not geared up with necessaries for sauce making yet.’
    • ‘Lots of worthwhile things got done today, domestic things, keeping the small ship of our household trim and balanced, clean and supplied with the necessaries.’
    • ‘But back then florists seemed rather more in touch with the real world and would provide a few bunches of the cheapest blooms you could have for the small change left after shopping for necessaries.’
    • ‘There wasn't time for a full shop so I confined myself to the small list of necessaries I'd scribbled down.’
    • ‘And a big plus is that it's not too trendy to supply the necessaries for making coffee and tea.’
    • ‘At the time of writing his Wealth of Nations, Smith noted that only four necessaries were subject to tax in Great Britain, specifically salt, leather, soap and candles.’
    1. 1.1informal The action or item needed.
      ‘see when they need a tactful word of advice and do the necessary’
      • ‘Unafraid of blood and guts, I went with him to the top of the garden where he did the necessary.’
      • ‘Of course, if she's busy reading or otherwise occupied, she sends the sprog in her place to do the necessary.’
      • ‘As I empathised with the poor guy, I obliged him by doing the necessary.’
      • ‘I don't know if you all realize how much I hate being ill, anyhow, I am doing the necessary.’
      • ‘Unable to get the human variety, the club has hired a team of four llamas to do the necessary.’
    2. 1.2British informal The money needed.
      ‘a bag containing my wallet: the money, the necessary’
      • ‘Paul, a successful model with ambitions to run his own place, came up with the necessary.’


Late Middle English: from Latin necessarius, from necesse be needful.