Definition of necessity in English:



  • 1mass noun The state or fact of being required.

    ‘the necessity of providing parental guidance’
    • ‘The necessity to make ports of entry more secure is acute.’
    • ‘No, there are very serious differences, historical differences, and from the practical point of view there is no necessity to export democracy.’
    • ‘There is rarely any necessity to trim the plants, though there might be an occasional need to remove dried leaves, wilted flowers and lifeless stems.’
    • ‘This being the case, there is no real necessity to introduce new laws hurriedly.’
    • ‘The necessity for clarity of meaning for his listening public imposed a new discipline on both his poetry and prose pieces and this improved his work, exposing obscurities.’
    • ‘A software package was developed which obviated the necessity of having instructors in every class.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The necessity for a new route has also been questioned, amid suggestions that the existing Killarney / Farranfore road could be upgraded and re-aligned.’
    • ‘He stressed the necessity for exercising economy and using the minimum of water.’
    • ‘They recognized the absolute necessity of having some maturity in the country's leadership.’
    • ‘These people seem to live in an alternate reality where there is no necessity for their words to correspond to anything that happens in the world.’
    • ‘Such laws, he said, were ‘in danger of discrediting our parliament if we let that necessity to have high standards in public life lead to an intrusion into private family life’.’
    • ‘The long-felt necessity for a state-of-the art gallery of art was realised at last with the initiative of the State Government.’
    • ‘I believe that the economic necessity for innovation and creativity will ultimately drive greater acceptance of diversity.’
    • ‘The necessity for a sewage scheme to be installed in Shrule because of the serious health hazard that exists there, has been raised with the County Medical Officer.’
    • ‘This year there has been no necessity for farmers to choose between the census or the simplified systems.’
    • ‘He was little more than contemptuous of those who questioned the necessity of war.’
    • ‘As well as the urgent necessity for further resources, there is also a crying need to better manage the resources that we already have.’
    • ‘The necessity to have access to larger markets is absolutely crucial.’
    • ‘However, the existence of representative government doesn't obviate the necessity of enquiry.’
    • ‘Their stance demonstrates the utter necessity of this unwelcome war.’
    • ‘In that context, I stressed the necessity of repudiating all forms of U.S. patriotism.’
    • ‘There is no necessity to hospitalize the patient.’
    essential requirement, prerequisite, indispensable item, indispensable thing, essential, requisite, necessary, fundamental, basic
    indispensability, need, needfulness
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    1. 1.1 The state of being unavoidable.
      ‘the necessity of growing old’
      • ‘Accordingly, this application has arguable probability, not inexorable logical or theological necessity.’
      • ‘Men never do any good, he asserts, except by necessity.’
      • ‘In the case of the necessity of substance, there is certainly a conception of a ‘whole’ which is just the sum of its parts and therefore something whose identity is dependent upon that of its parts.’
      • ‘Annie clutched her teddy to her chest tightly and felt every conceivable option she could have had in her life melt into a single inescapable necessity.’
      • ‘Underneath this official language of inevitability and necessity, Woolf detects an irrepressible internal pressure.’
      • ‘However, no systematic rules for the necessity of a certain sequence have been recognized.’
      • ‘For Burke, expedience and necessity was everything - it was not only inevitable but necessary that America free itself from the yoke of English rule.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Like theoretical reasoning, practical reasoning seeks in a sense to demonstrate the necessity of certain actions.’
      • ‘Of necessity there will be a certain amount of overlapping, because many of the same arguments, or approximations thereof, have been employed by more than one critic.’
      • ‘At this time thinking was dominated by Kant who had stated that Euclidean geometry is the inevitable necessity of thought.’
      inevitability, unavoidability, certainty, inescapability, inexorability, ineluctability
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    2. 1.2 A situation enforcing a certain course of action.
      ‘political necessity induced him to consider it’
      • ‘Necessity had forced him to discover more about his flying, once again.’
      • ‘But necessity requires that I have to have at least a bit of help from each of you against him.’
      • ‘But they were warned beforehand that they should not exceed the limit of the bare necessity of the war.’
      • ‘What made religious toleration and later freedom of conscience possible in England was not theoretical argument but political necessity.’
      • ‘In his political writings, necessity ousts God.’
      • ‘But the decision to exit might be dictated by necessity more than bad faith.’
      • ‘Vacations when you have kids are somewhat constrained by necessity.’
      • ‘Such people are forced by necessity to buy the cheapest ticket possible.’
      • ‘It is driven by political necessity, and racial opportunism.’
      • ‘Inserting amendments as and when necessity arises would have been a better strategy.’
      • ‘Necessity drove him to see if he could get to the corner shop on his own.’
      • ‘Like the wolf or the deer, travellers' actions are dictated by practical necessity rather than political idealism.’
      • ‘Ending the draft was a political and moral necessity.’
      • ‘Of course, political necessity prevented the president from blurting the awkward truth that the nation is already running near-record deficits.’
      • ‘In many cases it was financial necessity that forced great pugilists back, with disastrous consequences.’
      • ‘In ordinary life, explanations that invoke chance, necessity, or design cover every eventuality.’
      • ‘Basically the self is two things: the self is relational; all that means is, we are certain things by necessity in the world.’
      • ‘But in all likelihood, bureaucratic necessity drove most police transfers.’
      • ‘Patients can often figure out ingenious ways to treat themselves when necessity forces their hand.’
      • ‘Political ideology is the result of individuals making statements about the world based on theory, and in many cases, political necessity.’
      • ‘All these were developments brought about through the perceived economic necessity of the time.’
      force of circumstance, pressure of circumstance, need, obligation, call, exigency
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  • 2An indispensable thing.

    ‘a good book is a necessity when travelling’
    • ‘So in some cases, it's perceived by the employer as a business necessity.’
    • ‘The impact of the war will be felt particularly on two heavily-traded basic necessities, oil and food.’
    • ‘Mayor Street defends the cuts as an unpleasant necessity due to the city's financial straits.’
    • ‘Morphine had become an " absolute necessity of life " for this user.’
    • ‘Apart from beer and fags the household necessities in most families are bought by women.’
    • ‘I would now like to share with you friends, another crucial requirement and necessity for our country.’
    • ‘The ship's commander refused to pass on even clothes, food and basic necessities to his prisoners.’
    • ‘By all means, spend your available cash on necessities like food, shelter and clothing.’
    • ‘Basic medical necessities, however, are either nonexistent or in short supply.’
    • ‘You drastically cut back on basic necessities such as food or travel to pay creditors.’
    • ‘Store clothing, dishes, food and other household necessities within easy reach.’
    • ‘Sleep ranks at the top of the list of human necessities - right along with air, water and food.’
    • ‘These patients do not have even basic necessities such as clothes, soap and toothpaste.’
    • ‘Streams of people packed hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores to stockpile household necessities.’
    • ‘Hundreds of thousands of people lack the basic necessities of life and are vulnerable to disease and possibly starvation.’
    • ‘Sophisticated telecommunications have become a basic necessity of everyday life.’
    • ‘As soon as she arrived at her room, she began to pack a few nondescript clothes and a few basic necessities.’
    • ‘Each of the group was allowed to bring three basic necessities - a torch, a sleeping bag and warm clothes.’
    • ‘Employers have moved diversity from a " nice thing to do " to a business necessity.’
    • ‘Internationalism is not simply a utopian ideal, but an urgent practical necessity.’
    • ‘Health care is not a golf game, it's a human necessity.’
    essential requirement, prerequisite, indispensable item, indispensable thing, essential, requisite, necessary, fundamental, basic
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  • 3Philosophy
    mass noun The principle according to which something must be so, by virtue either of logic or of natural law.

    • ‘The necessity which causation involves is at most ‘natural’ or ‘physical’ necessity, not metaphysical necessity.’
    • ‘Such events constitute given facts and their conjunctions exhaust the objective content of our idea of natural necessity.’
    • ‘Hence, masculinity, femininity and homosexuality were transformed from the realm of biological necessity to that of custom.’
    • ‘However, if we're talking about deontic necessity - the logic of what ought to be - then things are different.’
    • ‘Capitalism, by necessity, must do this in order to establish and support inequality because Capitalism is inequality.’
    • ‘He strongly objected, however, to any suggestion that necessity can also be properly attributed to the properties or relationships of the things described in such sentences.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Moreover, the vital role played by the truths given above in all scientific explanation persuaded Kant that a theory of objectivity would also provide an explanation of natural necessity.’
    • ‘Hume notes the criticism that necessity undermines morality since it eliminates moral choice.’
    • ‘He also believed that moral agency and freedom are compatible with metaphysical necessity.’
    • ‘Pre-biotic natural selection and chemical necessity cannot, as a logical matter, explain the origin of biological information.’
    • ‘And in obeying this necessity, Spinoza goes on to argue, we are completely free.’
    • ‘Any such project must, by necessity, be selective.’
    • ‘In addition, God has, though not with metaphysical necessity, all the moral perfections.’
    • ‘The logic of value can only constitute a necessity in the sense in which Hegel presents 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.’
    • ‘Keep in mind, though, that not all entities, according to Aquinas, have an essence, though all, by necessity, have a form.’
    • ‘If you have partial darkness you must by necessity also have partial light.’
    • ‘By art, Benjamin means the interpretive, cognitive processes which by necessity always dominate a process such as painting.’
    • ‘Modal logic is the logic of possibility and necessity and the study of modal logic, as a discipline, has flourished in the latter half of the twentieth century.’
    1. 3.1count noun A condition that cannot be otherwise, or a statement asserting this.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The absolute necessity of the judgment is only a conditioned necessity of the thing, or of the predicate in the judgment.’
      • ‘Artists of this region have always created art out of a necessity that transcends the restrictive conditions imposed upon them.’
      • ‘If that is the case, intervention, when it is constructive, is an objective necessity, so that auditing its personnel could be introduced.’
      • ‘Vengeance may hold a primitive necessity, but it offers neither redemption nor relief.’
      • ‘Robespierre was a disciple of Rousseau - both considered the general will an absolute necessity.’
      • ‘There is no evidence that it was for Foucault, nor that he intended to suggest anything other than realization of the fact of observation as a critical necessity.’
      • ‘Some critics may see this as collaborating with enemies of the environment, but Herd understands this as a necessity that parallels the balance of mankind and nature.’
      stipulation, constraint, prerequisite, precondition, requirement, rule, term, specification, provision, proviso, qualification
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  • 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.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If necessity is the mother of invention, Hurricane Katrina has forced some in this city to reinvent the way they do business.’
      • ‘Necessity being the mother of invention, he improvised where he had to.’
      • ‘They say necessity is the mother of invention, and that's how Thomas developed his versatile role last season.’
      • ‘After all, necessity is the mother of invention, even in golf.’
      • ‘They say necessity is the mother of invention, and Wright has done a masterful job shaping his four-guard offense in the wake of Sumpter's knee injury.’
      • ‘The idea is that necessity isn't always the mother of invention.’
      • ‘If necessity is the mother of invention, staring at a wall of trees numbering some 100,000 per hectare ought to get you thinking.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As in many types of discovery, necessity is the mother of invention.’
  • of necessity

    • Unavoidably.

      ‘to alleviate labour shortages employers will, of necessity, offer better deals for part-timers’
      • ‘All cooking was done in the oven or on the open fire, and of necessity we always had a fine selection of grimy bottomed pans.’
      • ‘The prints made from such a plate are of necessity mirror images of the original drawings.’
      • ‘It's just that the definition of either half of that primal sentence is, of necessity, arbitrary.’
      • ‘The tone is of necessity at variance with that of everything that comes before it.’
      • ‘The eighteen essays of necessity cover a wide range of topics for a period beginning in about 1880.’
      • ‘This is all aided and abetted by the amazing assertion that hard work of necessity brings rewards.’
      • ‘Its loyalties are divided, of necessity, and the imperatives at work are contradictory.’
      • ‘Australia would of necessity be less dependent on the American logistic system.’
      • ‘Teaching at A-level is indeed often, of necessity, focused on passing the exam.’
      • ‘It is, of necessity, one that is inescapably based on discrimination and discernment.’
      • ‘Their culture and way of life must of necessity reflect a human-centred moral order.’
      • ‘This must of necessity bring her office and the judiciary into disrepute.’
      • ‘This of necessity involved the expulsion of those who inhabited the land.’
      • ‘Whoever rejects it does, of necessity, fly to anarchy or to despotism.’
      necessarily, inevitably, unavoidably, by force of circumstance, inescapably, ineluctably
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Late Middle English: from Old French necessite, from Latin necessitas, from necesse ‘be needful’.