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Related to necessity: certainty


n. pl. ne·ces·si·ties
a. The condition or quality of being necessary.
b. Something necessary: The necessities of life include food, clothing, and shelter.
a. Something dictated by invariable physical laws.
b. The force exerted by circumstance.
3. The state or fact of being in need.
4. Pressing or urgent need, especially that arising from poverty.
of necessity
As an inevitable consequence; necessarily.

[Middle English necessite, from Old French, from Latin necessitās, from necesse, necessary; see necessary.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n, pl -ties
1. (sometimes plural) something needed for a desired result; prerequisite: necessities of life.
2. 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.
3. the state or quality of being obligatory or unavoidable
4. urgent requirement, as in an emergency or misfortune: in time of necessity we must all work together.
5. poverty or want
6. rare compulsion through laws of nature; fate
7. (Philosophy) philosophy
a. a condition, principle, or conclusion that cannot be otherwise
b. the constraining force of physical determinants on all aspects of life. Compare freedom8
8. (Logic) logic
a. the property of being necessary
b. a statement asserting that some property is essential or statement is necessarily true
c. the operator that indicates that the expression it modifies is true in all possible worlds. Usual symbol: or
9. of necessity inevitably; necessarily
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(nəˈsɛs ɪ ti)

n., pl. -ties.
1. something necessary or indispensable: food, shelter, and other necessities of life.
2. the fact of being necessary or indispensable; indispensability: the necessity of adequate housing.
3. an imperative requirement or need for something: a necessity for a quick decision.
4. the state or fact of being necessary or inevitable: to face the necessity of testifying in court.
5. an unavoidable need or compulsion to do something: not by choice but by necessity.
6. a state of being in financial need; poverty: a family in dire necessity.
7. Philos. the quality of following inevitably from logical, physical, or moral laws.
of necessity, inevitably; unavoidably; necessarily.
[1325–75; Middle English necessite < Latin necessitās=necess(e) needful + -itās -ity]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.




  1. Crucial as the last game of the World Series —Anon
  2. Essential as marrow —Curtis White
  3. I need it like I need a hole in the head —Anon

    A Yiddish simile, typical of the colorful irony that has caused so many Jewish immigrant expressions to become integrated into American English.

  4. Necessary and invisible like drafts of oxygen —Thomas Lux
  5. Necessary as water to a healthy lawn —Anon
  6. Necessary as a gardener to his garden —John Ray’s Proverbs
  7. Necessary as an anesthesiologist to an operation —Mary Morris
  8. Necessary as applause to an actor —Anon
  9. Necessary as a saw to a carpenter —Anon
  10. Necessary as bytes to a computer —Anon
  11. Necessary as Christmas to retailers —Anon
  12. Necessary as eggs in an omelette —Anon
  13. Necessary as gas to a car —Anon
  14. Necessary as good lines to a play —Anon
  15. Necessary as markings on a scale or a thermometer —Anon
  16. Necessary as a paycheck to a worker —Anon
  17. Necessary as practice to a musician —Anon
  18. Necessary as quartz for a digital watch —Anon
  19. Necessary as snow to a ski weekend —Anon
  20. Necessary as sturdy shoes to a runner —Anon
  21. Necessary as sunshine to a garden —Anon
  22. Necessary as wages —John Braine
  23. Necessary as workouts to an athlete —Anon
  24. Necessary as work to a workaholic —Anon
  25. (Men are as) necessary to her survival as water —Patricia Henley
  26. Need as a dog needs a pocket handkerchief —Anon

    “Need as” similes with opposite meanings lend themselves to endless variations.


  27. Needed a ten minute head start like Sinatra needed singing lessons —John Lutz
  28. Need … like a fish needs a bicycle —Robert B. Parker
  29. Needs as a dog needs two tails —American colloquialism, attributed to New England

    The exact wording of this, as with anything handed down through common usage varies with each user; for example, a popular variation of the same theme is “He don’t need it any more than a dog needs two tails.”

  30. Need … to simplify, almost like some painfully obese gourmet craving a stay at a health farm —John Fowles
  31. Something she needs like a new navel —Richard Ford
  32. As superfluous as a Gideon’s Bible at the Ritz —F. Scott Fitzgerald
  33. Superfluous as to light as a candle to the sun —Robert South
  34. Unnecessary like rubbish —Henia Karmel-Wolfe
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.necessity - the condition of being essential or indispensable
need, demand - a condition requiring relief; "she satisfied his need for affection"; "God has no need of men to accomplish His work"; "there is a demand for jobs"
requisiteness - the state of being absolutely required
urgency - the state of being urgent; an earnest and insistent necessity
2.necessity - anything indispensable; "food and shelter are necessities of life"; "the essentials of the good life"; "allow farmers to buy their requirements under favorable conditions"; "a place where the requisites of water fuel and fodder can be obtained"
thing - a separate and self-contained entity
desideratum - something desired as a necessity; "the desiderata for a vacation are time and money"
must - a necessary or essential thing; "seat belts are an absolute must"
need, want - anything that is necessary but lacking; "he had sufficient means to meet his simple needs"; "I tried to supply his wants"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. need, demand, requirement, exigency, indispensability, needfulness There is agreement on the necessity of reforms.
2. essential, need, necessary, requirement, fundamental, requisite, prerequisite, sine qua non (Latin), desideratum, want Water is a basic necessity of life.
3. inevitability, certainty, inexorability, ineluctability, shoo-in (U.S. & Canad.) the ultimate necessity of death
4. poverty, need, privation, penury, destitution, extremity, indigence They were reduced to begging through economic necessity.
plural noun
1. essentials, needs, requirements, fundamentals They sometimes had to struggle to pay for necessities.
of necessity necessarily, inevitably, unavoidably, perforce, nolens volens (Latin) The recommendations made in this handbook are, of necessity, fairly general.
"Necessity is the mother of invention" [Jonathan Swift Gulliver's Travels]
"Necessity never made a good bargain" [Benjamin Franklin Poor Richard's Almanac]
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom; it is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves" [William Pitt speech]
"You make a virtue of necessity" [Saint Jerome Apologeticum adversus Rufinum]
"Give us the luxuries of life, and we will dispense with its necessities" [John Lothrop Motley]
"Necessity knows no law"
"Needs must when the devil drives"
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. That which provides a reason or justification:
call, cause, ground (often used in plural), justification, occasion, reason, wherefore, why.
Idiom: why and wherefore.
3. A condition in which something necessary or desirable is required or wanted:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
sự cần thiết


[nɪˈsesɪtɪ] N
1. (= need) → necesidad f
I don't see the necessity of itno veo la necesidad de eso
there is no necessity for you to do itno es necesario que lo hagas
she works from economic necessitytrabaja por necesidad
of necessitynecesariamente, forzosamente, por fuerza
out of sheer necessitypor pura necesidad
necessity is the mother of inventionla necesidad agudiza el ingenio
2. (= necessary thing) → necesidad f
necessities such as food and clothing were in short supplyescaseaban artículos de primera necesidad tales como la comida y la ropa
the basic necessities of lifelas necesidades básicas (de la vida)
see also bare A3
3. (= unavoidable thing) the curfew was seen as a regrettable necessityel toque de queda era visto como un mal necesario
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[nəˈsɛsɪti] n
(= need) → nécessité f
the necessity to do sth → la nécessité de faire qch
Young people must be made aware of the necessity to look after the environment → On doit rendre les jeunes conscients de la nécessité de prendre soin de l'environnement.
there is no necessity to do this → il n'y a pas lieu de faire ça
There is no necessity for us to do anything → Il n'y a pas lieu pour nous de faire quoi que ce soit.
the necessity of doing sth → la nécessité de faire qch
Freed from the necessity of earning a living, he decided to travel → Libéré de la nécessité de gagner sa vie, il décida de voyager.
to be faced with the necessity of doing sth → être placé(e) devant la nécessité de faire qch
to be a matter of necessity → être une question de nécessité
in case of necessity → en cas de nécessité
to do sth out of necessity → faire qch par nécessité
She went to work not through choice but out of necessity → Elle ne travaillait pas par choix, mais par nécessité.
of necessity (= necessarily) → par nécessité
The account given here is of necessity extremely brief → Le récit donné ici est, par nécessité, extrêmement bref.
(= necessary thing) → nécessité f
For some people a car is a necessity, not a luxury → Pour certains, la voiture est une nécessité et non un luxe.
Television is considered a necessity by some → Certains considèrent la télévision comme une nécessité.
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


no plNotwendigkeit f; from or out of necessityaus Not; of necessitynotgedrungen, notwendigerweise; to be born of necessityaus Notwendigkeit (heraus) geschehen; he did not realize the necessity for a quick decisioner hat nicht erkannt, wie wichtig or notwendig eine schnelle Entscheidung war; it is a case of absolute necessityes ist unbedingt notwendig; there is no necessity for you to do thates besteht nicht die geringste Notwendigkeit, dass Sie das tun; necessity is the mother of invention (Prov) → Not macht erfinderisch (Prov)
no pl (= poverty)Not f, → Armut f; to live in necessityNot leiden, in Armut leben
(= necessary thing)Notwendigkeit f; the bare necessities (of life)das Notwendigste (zum Leben)
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[nɪˈsɛsɪtɪ] n
there is no necessity for you to do that → non è necessario che or non c'è bisogno che tu lo faccia
the necessity of doing sth → la necessità di fare qc
is there any necessity? → è proprio necessario?, c'è proprio bisogno?
of necessity → di necessità, necessariamente
from or out of necessity → per necessità or bisogno
in case of necessity → in caso di necessità
b. (necessary thing) → cosa indispensabile, necessità f inv
the bare necessities → lo stretto necessario, il minimo indispensabile
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈnesisəri) adjective
needed; essential. Is it necessary to sign one's name?; I shall do all that is necessary.
ˌnecesˈsarily (-ˈse-) adverb
necessitate (niˈsesiteit) verb
to make necessary. Re-building the castle would necessitate spending a lot of money.
necessity (niˈsesəti) plural neˈcessities noun
something needed or essential. Food is one of the necessities of life.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


ضَرُورَةٌ nutnost nødvendighed Notwendigkeit αναγκαιότητα necesidad välttämättömyys nécessité nužnost necessità 必要性 필요성 noodzaak nødvendighet potrzeba necessidade необходимость nödvändighet ความจำเป็น gereklilik sự cần thiết 必要性
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009


n. necesidad, obligación.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
References in classic literature ?
A beginning is that which does not itself follow anything by causal necessity, but after which something naturally is or comes to be.
This warp seemed necessity; and here, thought I, with my own hand I ply my own shuttle and weave my own destiny into these unalterable threads.
The problem is that regarding man as a subject of observation from whatever point of view- theological, historical, ethical, or philosophic- we find a general law of necessity to which he (like all that exists) is subject.
I, too, imagine that since he is going away, there is no sort of necessity for Count Vronsky to come here.
For common gifts, necessity makes pertinences and beauty every day, and one is glad when an imperative leaves him no option; since if the man at the door have no shoes, you have not to consider whether you could procure him a paint-box.
Those contraries which are such that the subjects in which they are naturally present, or of which they are predicated, must necessarily contain either the one or the other of them, have no intermediate, but those in the case of which no such necessity obtains, always have an intermediate.
The next morning he felt so harassed with the nightmare of consequences-- he dreaded so much the immediate issues before him--that seeing while he breakfasted the arrival of the Riverston coach, he went out hurriedly and took his place on it, that he might be relieved, at least for a day, from the necessity of doing or saying anything in Middlemarch.
"It will be absolutely necessary," said she, "as you, my dear sister, must be sensible, to treat my daughter with some severity while she is here; a most painful necessity, but I will ENDEAVOUR to submit to it.
Wherefore necessity must be laid upon them, and they must be induced to serve from the fear of punishment.
The necessity of unanimity in public bodies, or of something approaching towards it, has been founded upon a supposition that it would contribute to security.
Wherefore the necessity for his periodical visits to the upper world.
Man had been content to live in ease and delight upon the labours of his fellow-man, had taken Necessity as his watchword and excuse, and in the fullness of time Necessity had come home to him.