needful

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English needeful, nedeful, from Old English nēodful (necessary; earnest; zealous). Equivalent to need +‎ -ful. Cognate with Dutch noodvol, German notvoll.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (file)

Adjective[edit]

needful (comparative more needful, superlative most needful)

  1. Needed; necessary; mandatory; requisite; indispensible.
    Synonym: needless
    • 1719, “An ACT, Stating the due Aſſize of Bread”, in The Charter Granted by His Majeſty, King Charles the Second, to the Colony of Rhode-Iſland, and Providence-plantations in America[1], John Allen, page 59:
      And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforeſaid, That in every Town in the Colony, where Bread is Baken for Sale, there ſhall be Choſen one Clerk of the Market, or more, as each Town ſhall find needful, at their Annual Election of Town Officers, who ſhall duly be Engaged, to the faithful performance of ſaid Office, as other Town Officers are ; []
    • 1898, J. Meade Falkner, Moonfleet Chapter 5
      So I went to keep house with him at the Why Not? and my aunt sent down my bag of clothes, and would have made over to Elzevir the pittance that my father left for my keep, but he said it was not needful, and he would have none of it.

Derived terms[edit]

Noun[edit]

needful (plural needfuls)

  1. (slang) Ready money; wherewithal.
  2. (India, chiefly archaic in other dialects) Anything necessary or requisite.

Usage notes[edit]

English Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia

Commonly found in phrases such as "kindly do the needful", which occur commonly in Indian English but are held as archaic in other dialects. Global interactions between English speakers have to some extent led to these phrases being seen as stereotypical of Indian English and parodied by speakers of other dialects.

Derived terms[edit]

Anagrams[edit]