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Borrowed from Livonian vajāg (necessary); cf. Estonian vaja (necessary; need; lack), Finnish vajaa (incomplete, inadequate; need), Veps vajag (incomplete). In 16th-18th century texts, the word (in the older form vaijaga) is used as an adjective, often accompanied by the copula (vaijaga ir... “it is necessary”), following the original Livonian pattern. From the 17th century on, it began occurring also by itself in a dative construction (man vajag... “I need”), from which it was reinterpreted as a verb, so that further forms — an infinitive vajadzēt, a past tense vajadzēja, a future tense vajadzēs, a conditional form vajadzētu, etc. — were created by analogy (compare tecēt (to flow), third person present tek, third person past tecēja, etc.). Some participial forms, however, are lacking, and others (vajagošs) are barely attested.[1]


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vajadzēt intr. + dat., 3rd conj., only 3rd personpres. vajag, past vajadzēja

  1. to be necessary, to be needed, to be desired
    vajag paveikt iesāktoit is necessary to finish what was started
    man vajag padomaI need (some) advice
    ko tev vajag? — what do you need?
    viņam vajadzēja daudz strādāthe needed, had to work a lot
    mājai vajadzētu jaunu jumtuthe house would need (= should get) a new roof
    mums vajadzētu satiktieswe would need (= should) meet
    vajadzēt vairāk brīva laikato need more free time
  2. (with an infinitive verb) must, should (expressing confidence about the existence or occurrence of something)
    ezeram vajadzēja būt tepat netāluthe lake must, should be here nearby
    viņam drīz vajag nākthe must, should come soon (= I think he will come soon)
    vajadzēja būt pagājušai jau kādai stundaian hour must have already passed
    drīz vajag būt rītamit should soon be morning

Usage notes[edit]

The arguments of this verb are: a dative, for the person to whom something is necessary, and an accusative or genitive, for the thing that is necessary; e.g.: man vajag naudu or man vajag naudas “I(dat.) need money(acc. or gen.).” The accusative has more widespread use, though the genitive is not infrequent, often with a partitive sense (“I need some money”).


Derived terms[edit]


  1. ^ Karulis, Konstantīns. 1992, 2001. Latviešu etimoloģijas vārdnīca. Rīga: AVOTS. →ISBN.