do the needful

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do the needful (third-person singular simple present does the needful, present participle doing the needful, simple past did the needful, past participle done the needful)

  1. (India, Nigeria, dated UK) To do that which is necessary or required.
    • 1817, Scott, Sir Walter, chapter 2, in Rob Roy[1], volume 1, Edinburgh: James Ballantyne and Co., published 1818, page 24:
      My father had, generally speaking, his temper under complete self command, and his anger rarely indicated itself by words, except in a sort of dry testy manner to those who had displeased him. He never used threats or expressions of loud resentment. All was arranged with him on system and it was his practice to "do the needful" on every occasion, without wasting words about it.
    • 2017 November 3, Opejobi, Seun, quoting Rev. Divine Okwara, “Biafra: Prophet Okwara reveals how Buhari can ‘kill’ agitation for Igbo nation”, in Daily Post (Nigeria)[2]:
      The best way to handle Biafra agitation is through a round table, dialogue with them since they feel they are not well treated. These people are hungry. Let the president do the needful by calling them to order, call the youth to order.

Usage notes[edit]

This phrase is dated in British usage but still current in other regions.

See also[edit]