Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Being in need; impoverished. See Synonyms at poor.
  • adj. Wanting or needing affection, attention, or reassurance, especially to an excessive degree.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. In need, poor.
  • adj. Desiring constant affirmation, lacking in self confidence

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Distressed by want of the means of living; very poor; indigent; necessitous.
  • adj. Necessary; requisite.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Needful; requisite; necessary.
  • Necessitous; indigent; very poor.
  • Synonyms Needy, Necessitous. Needy seems to apply primarily to the person, but also to the condition; necessitous to the condition and rarely to the person. Needy implies a more permanent state than necessitous; a necessitous condition is more painful and urgent than a needy condition.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. needy people collectively
  • adj. poor enough to need help from others
  • adj. demanding or needing attention, affection, or reassurance to an excessive degree

Etymologies

From Middle English nedy, nedi ("necessitous"), from Old English nēdiġ, *nīediġ ("of need, obligated, compelled"; found in the derivative nīediġnes ("obligation")), from Proto-Germanic *naudigaz (“of need, forced, compelled”), equivalent to need +‎ -y. Cognate with Scots nedy, neidy ("needy, necessitous, impoverished"), Dutch nodig ("necessary"), Middle Low German nōdich ("necessary, urgent, by requirement"), German nötig ("necessary, needful"), Danish nødig ("necessary"), Swedish nödig ("necessary"), Icelandic nauðugur ("constrained"). (Wiktionary)

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