Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Being in need; impoverished;
  • adjective Wanting or needing affection, attention, or reassurance, especially to an excessive degree.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").

Examples

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