American English

Definition of need noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[singular, uncountable] a situation when something is necessary or must be done to satisfy/meet/identify a need need (for something) There is an urgent need for qualified teachers. We will contact you again if the need arises. The house is in need of a thorough cleaning. need (for somebody/something) to do something There is no need for you to get up early tomorrow. Ihad no need to open the letter—I knew what it would say. There's no need to cry (= stop crying).
  2. 2[countable, uncountable] a strong feeling that you want someone or something or must have something to fulfill an emotional need She felt the need to talk to someone. I'm in need of some fresh air. She had no more need of me. It's difficult to express our needs and desires.
  3. 3[countable, usually plural] the things that someone requires in order to live in a comfortable way or achieve what they want financial needs a program to suit your individual needs to meet children's special educational needs
  4. 4[uncountable] the state of not having enough food, money, or support synonym hardship The charity aims to provide assistance to people in need. He helped me in my hour of need. see also needy
  5. Idioms
    a crying need (for something)
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    a great and urgent need for something There is a crying need for more funds.
    a friend in need (is a friend indeed) (saying)
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    a friend who gives you help when you need it (is a true friend)
    if necessary There's always food in the freezer if need be.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: need