One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
needs must (or must needs) do something
archaic Cannot avoid or help doing something.‘they must needs depart’
- ‘Hence the ‘see system,’ as it is called; which simply means that the Bishop who would thus exercise his office must needs do it within definite limits of space, and where the want is greatest, that is, where life and population have met together, in the city, rather than primarily over long lines of railways and interminable prairies.’
- ‘Said Ralph, ‘If you will not seek the man, I must needs do it myself; see you then that no harm come to the mare and the coals, and I will look for Wymond, for certainly it was he that bade me come hither.’’
- ‘They rob man of all the comfort of the Gospel; as if he must needs do something and perform some work to justify his own soul!’
archaic It is or was necessary or unavoidable.‘if needs must, they will eat any food’
necessarily, of necessity, inevitably, unavoidably, by force of circumstances, needs mustView synonyms
- ‘Spending five, six or seven hours on a coach to places like Reading and Ipswich for an evening kick-off is far from ideal but it is something that the players have done because they are aware that needs must.’
- ‘‘Sometimes, needs must,’ said the Ewood chief.’
- ‘But needs must, and I am nothing if not 101% committed to maintaining optimal levels of client satisfaction, hem hem.’
- ‘But it was a case of needs must, I'm afraid; needs must or I don't leave the office until 8.00 pm.’
- ‘But, O'Riordan's strategy of ensuring the entire team defends when needs must, proved to be the necessary ‘spoiler’ to counter the Finn Harps fire-power.’
- ‘It's still way too unfashionably early for dinner… but needs must.’
- ‘But needs must, so, a couple of weeks ago, I was forced to cross the border - and I am still awaiting a hefty bill as a result.’
- ‘However, needs must, and we hope that the gift ideas in this week's mag will help take the ‘Christ!’’
- ‘Unfortunately it was just a pizzeria, but needs must.’
- ‘‘It is unusual to use the cathedral as a corporate venue - but needs must,’ she said.’
needs must when the Devil drives
proverb Sometimes you have to do something you would rather not.
- ‘When needs must, the saying goes, the devil drives.’
Old English nēdes (see need, -s).
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