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  • IPA(key): /niːdz/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːdz

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English nedes, from Old English nēdes, nīedes (of necesstiy, not willingly). Originally the genitive form of Old English nīed, formed with the suffix -es, used in the formation of adverbs from nouns. Equivalent to need +‎ -'s (possessive marker) and hence to need +‎ -s (adverbial suffix).

Alternative forms[edit]


needs (not comparable)

  1. (dated) Of necessity; necessarily; indispensably (used with an auxiliary verb (often must), and equivalent to “of need”).
    • 1610–1611, William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene ii], page 2:
      Proſ. To haue no Schreene between this part he plaid, / And him he plaid it for, he needes will be / Abſolute Millaine, []
    • 1625, James Ussher, “Of Traditions”, in An Ansvver to a Challenge Made by a Iesuite in Ireland. Wherein the Iudgment of Antiquity in the Points Questioned, is Truly Delivered, and the Noveltie of the Now Romish Doctrine Plainely Discovered by Iames Vssher bishop of Meath. Whereunto is Added a Sermon Preached before His Majesty at Wansted, by the Same Author, London: Printed [by Humphrey Lownes] for the Society of Stationers, OCLC 228715552; republished in C[harles] R[ichard] Elrington, editor, The Whole Works of the Most Rev. James Ussher, D.D. Lord Archbishop of Armagh, and Primate of All Ireland, volume III, Dublin: Hodges & Smith; London: Whittaker & Co., [1831], OCLC 49005379, page 41:
      To begin therefore with Traditions, which is your forlorn hope that in the first place we are to set upon: this must I needs tell you before we begin, that you much mistake the matter, if you think that traditions of all sorts promiscuously are struck at by our religion.
    • 1896, A. E. Housman, chapter XXV, in A Shropshire Lad, lines 3-4:
      We needs must jangle, till at last / We fought and I was beat.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


Etymology 2[edit]



  1. plural of need

Etymology 3[edit]



  1. Third-person singular simple present indicative form of need
Usage notes[edit]
  • When “need” is used as a modal verb, no s is added in the third-person singular, just as no s is added to the other modal verbs.