Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Idioms, Encyclopedia.


1. Needed or required: a contract complete with the necessary signatures; conditions necessary to life. See Synonyms at indispensable.
a. Unavoidably determined by prior conditions or circumstances; inevitable: the necessary results of overindulgence.
b. Logically inevitable: a necessary conclusion.
3. Required by obligation, compulsion, or convention: made the necessary apologies.
n. pl. nec·es·sar·ies
Something indispensable.

[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, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


pl n
1. (sometimes singular) what is needed; essential items: the necessaries of life.
2. (Law) law food, clothing, etc, essential for the maintenance of a dependant in the condition of life to which he or she is accustomed
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014