Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

need - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun need pronunciation in American English /nid/
Word Forms
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. [singular/uncountable] a situation in which it is necessary for something to be done
    The bank will lend us more money, should the need arise.
    need for: The government recognizes the need for immediate action.
    There isn’t much need for further research.
    a need to do something: We feel there is a need to improve internal communications.
    1. a.
      [countable] [usually plural] something that you need in order to be healthy, comfortable, successful, etc.
      someone’s needs: People with mental health problems have special needs.
      meet a need (=provide what is needed): We want this school to meet the needs of all our children.




a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog