motivation, motive, need

(noun) the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behavior; “we did not understand his motivation”; “he acted with the best of motives”

need, want

(noun) anything that is necessary but lacking; “he had sufficient means to meet his simple needs”; “I tried to supply his wants”

need, demand

(noun) 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”

indigence, need, penury, pauperism, pauperization

(noun) a state of extreme poverty or destitution; “their indigence appalled him”; “a general state of need exists among the homeless”

want, need, require

(verb) have need of; “This piano wants the attention of a competent tuner”


(verb) have or feel a need for; “always needing friends and money”

necessitate, ask, postulate, need, require, take, involve, call for, demand

(verb) require as useful, just, or proper; “It takes nerve to do what she did”; “success usually requires hard work”; “This job asks a lot of patience and skill”; “This position demands a lot of personal sacrifice”; “This dinner calls for a spectacular dessert”; “This intervention does not postulate a patient’s consent”

Source: WordNet® 3.1

Etymology 1


need (countable and uncountable, plural needs)

(countable and uncountable) A requirement for something; something needed.

Lack of means of subsistence; poverty; indigence; destitution.

Usage notes

• Adjectives often used with “need”: urgent, dire, desperate, strong, unmet, bad, basic, critical, essential, big, terrible, modest, elementary, daily, everyday, special, educational, environmental, human, personal, financial, emotional, medical, nutritional, spiritual, public, developmental, organizational, legal, fundamental, audio-visual, psychological, corporate, societal, psychosocial, functional, additional, caloric, private, monetary, physiological, mental.

Etymology 2


need (third-person singular simple present needs, present participle needing, simple past and past participle needed)

(transitive) To have an absolute requirement for.

(transitive) To want strongly; to feel that one must have something.

(modal verb) To be obliged or required (to do something).

(intransitive) To be required; to be necessary.

(obsolete, transitive) To be necessary (to someone).

Usage notes

• The verb need is construed in a few different ways

With a direct object, as in “I need your help.”

With a to-infinitive, as in “I need to go.” Here, the subject of need serves implicitly as the subject of the infinitive.

With a clause of the form “for [object] to [verb phrase]”, or simply “[object] to [verb phrase]” as in “I need for this to happen” or “I need this to happen.” In both variants, the object serves as the subject of the infinitive.

As a modal verb, with a bare infinitive; in negative polarity contexts, such as questions (“Need I say more?”), with negative expressions such as not (“It need not happen today”; “No one need ever know”), and with similar constructions (“There need only be a few”; “it need be signed only by the president”; “I need hardly explain the error”). Need in this use does not have inflected forms, aside from the contraction needn’t.

With a gerund-participle, as in “The car needs washing”, or (in certain dialects) with a past participle, as in “The car needs washed” (both meaning roughly “The car needs to be washed”).

With a direct object and a predicative complement, as in “We need everyone here on time” (meaning roughly “We need everyone to be here on time”) or “I need it gone” (meaning roughly “I need it to be gone”).

In certain dialects, and colloquially in certain others, with an unmarked reflexive pronoun, as in “I need me a car.”

• A sentence such as “I need you to sit down” or “you need to sit down” is more polite than the bare command “sit down”, but less polite than “please sit down”. It is considered somewhat condescending and infantilizing, hence dubbed by some “the kindergarten imperative”, but is quite common in American usage.


• (desire): desire, wish for, would like, want, will (archaic)

• (lack): be without, lack

• (require): be in need of, require


• Dene, Dené, Eden, Ende, deen, dene, eden, ende

Source: Wiktionary

Need, n. Etym: [OE. need, neod, nede, AS. neád, nyd; akin to D. nood, G. not, noth, Icel. nauedhr, Sw. & Dan. nöd, Goth. naups.]

1. A state that requires supply or relief; pressing occasion for something; necessity; urgent want. And the city had no need of the sun. Rev. xxi. 23. I have no need to beg. Shak. Be governed by your needs, not by your fancy. Jer. Taylor.

2. Want of the means of subsistence; poverty; indigence; destitution. Chaucer. Famine is in thy cheeks; Need and oppression starveth in thine eyes. Shak.

3. That which is needful; anything necessary to be done; (pl.) necessary things; business. [Obs.] Chaucer.

4. Situation of need; peril; danger. [Obs.] Chaucer.


– Exigency; emergency; strait; extremity; necessity; distress; destitution; poverty; indigence; want; penury.

– Need, Necessity. Necessity is stronger than need; it places us under positive compulsion. We are frequently under the necessity of going without that of which we stand very greatly in need. It is also with the corresponding adjectives; necessitous circumstances imply the direct pressure of suffering; needy circumstances, the want of aid or relief.

Need, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Needed; p. pr. & vb. n. Needing.] Etym: [See Need, n. Cf. AS. n to force, Goth. nau.]

Definition: To be in want of; to have cause or occasion for; to lack; to require, as supply or relief. Other creatures all day long Rove idle, unemployed, and less need rest. Milton.

Note: With another verb, need is used like an auxiliary, generally in a negative sentence expressing requirement or obligation, and in this use it undergoes no change of termination in the third person singular of the present tense. "And the lender need not fear he shall be injured." Anacharsis (Trans. ).

Need, v. i.

Definition: To be wanted; to be necessary. Chaucer. When we have done it, we have done all that is in our power, and all that needs. Locke.

Need, adv.

Definition: Of necessity. See Needs. [Obs.] Chaucer.

Source: Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary 1913 Edition


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