American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Absolutely essential. See Synonyms at indispensable.
- adj. Needed to achieve a certain result or effect; requisite: the necessary tools.
- adj. Unavoidably determined by prior conditions or circumstances; inevitable: the necessary results of overindulgence.
- adj. Logically inevitable.
- adj. Required by obligation, compulsion, or convention: made the necessary apologies.
- n. Something indispensable.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Such as must be; that cannot be otherwise. As an inference, evidently of such a form that every like inference from true premises will always yield a true conclusion, in every state of facts. In philosophy it is requisite to distinguish an irresistible inference, the force of which may be blindly felt, from a necessary one, which is seen to belong to a possible class of inferences, all true.
- Such that it cannot be disregarded or omitted; indispensable; requisite; essential; needful; required: as, air is necessary to support animal life; food is necessary to nourish the body.
- In law:
- Requisite for reasonable convenience and facility or completeness in accomplishing the purpose intended: as, the land necessary for building a railroad.
- Naturally and inseparably connected in the ordinary course: as, necessary consequences. Thus, the necessary consequences of a trespass, such as depreciation in value of a thing injured, or the suffering of a person injured, are general damages, and need not be pleaded; but loss of profits or medical expenses are not necessary consequences in the legal sense, and must be specially alleged.
- Acting from compulsion or the absolute determination of causes: opposed to free. See free.
- Synonyms Necessary, Essential, Requisite, Needful. The following remarks refer to the application of the words to ordinary practical affairs, not to philosophy. Necessary is so general a word that it covers all the others, and has the additional sense, which they do not have, of inevitable. Essential is an absolute word, noting that which is a part of the chief end of the action, or of every mode of bringing that end about. Requisite is less strong than essential, and needful is less strong still; yet each is strong and emphatic, applying to that which is imperatively needed. Needful generally applies to concrete, and often to temporary, things: as, knowledge of the countries visited is requisite, and even essential, to enjoyment of travel, but money is needful in order to be able to travel at all. Needful is often applied to that which must be supplied to produce or effect a perfect state or action.
- n. Anything that is necessary or indispensable; that which cannot be disregarded or omitted: as, the necessaries of life.
- n. A privy; a water-closet.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Such as must be; impossible to be otherwise; not to be avoided; inevitable.
- adj. Impossible to be otherwise, or to be dispensed with, without preventing the attainment of a desired result; indispensable; requisite; essential.
- adj. Acting from necessity or compulsion; involuntary; -- opposed to
- n. A thing that is necessary or indispensable to some purpose; something that one can not do without; a requisite; an essential; -- used chiefly in the plural.
- n. A privy; a water-closet.
- n. (Law) Such things, in respect to infants, lunatics, and married women, as are requisite for support suitable to station.
- n. anything indispensable
- adj. unavoidably determined by prior circumstances
- adj. absolutely essential
- From Middle English necessarye, from Old French necessaire, from Latin necessārius ("unavoidable, inevitable, indispensable, requisite"), from necesse ("unavoidable, inevitable, indispensable"), neuter adjective with esse and habeō ("I have"), probably originating from ne cessum or non cessum, from ne ("not") + cessus, perfect passive participle of cēdō ("I yield"); see cede. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English necessarie, from Old French necessaire, from Latin necessārius, from necesse; see ked- in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Prayer as the highest that can be lived on earth, telling Martha that activity, even in the most necessary duties, was not after all the best use to which time and love could be put, but rather that _Mary had chosen the best part ... the one thing that is necessary_, and that it”
“It is not necessary absolutely that any man should continue to live; but it is necessary _morally_ that, if he would continue to live, he should eat and sleep, food and rest being, according to the established constitution of Nature, a _necessary condition_ or indispensable means for the support of life.”
“She kept telling me that I could have it (the necessary procedure) done as an in-patient procedure and then I could just be sterilized "while we're in there" at the same time, and it wouldn't hurt (as opposed to having the * necessary* procedure done in-office that she assured me would really hurt).”
“It is, we think, impossible to compare the sentence which prohibits a State from laying imposts, or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection laws, with that which authorizes Congress to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers of the general government, without feeling a conviction that the convention understood itself to change materially the meaning of the word necessary, by prefixing the word absolutely.”
“And yet, as it was necessary to appoint a certain day, in order that the people might know when they should assemble, the _Christian church_, (not the apostles,) has up appointed Sunday (the Lord's day) for this purpose; and to this change she was the more inclined and willing, that the people might have an example of Christian _liberty_, and might know that _the observance of neither the Sabbath nor any other day is necessary_.”
“Well," went on the other nervously, "I want you to speak for me, if necessary -- _if necessary_, you understand?”
“And I use the term necessary because this generation has a very narrow definition of necessary.”
“The term necessary being can be understood in different ways.”
“For the one part contends that the term necessary should not be used concerning the new obedience, for that this flows not from any necessity or constraint, but from a voluntary spirit.”
“But the other part judges that the term necessary should by all means be retained, inasmuch as this obedience is not left to our mere will, and therefore is not free, but that regenerate men are bound to render such service.”
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