Definition for NE-CES'SI-TY

NE-CES'SI-TY, n. [L. necessitas.]

  1. That which must be and can not be otherwise, or the cause of that which can not be otherwise. It is of necessity that a thing can not be and not be at the same time. It is of necessity that two contradictory propositions can not both be true.
  2. Irresistible power; compulsive force, physical or moral. If man's actions are determined by causes beyond his control, he acts from necessity, and is not a free agent. Necessity compelled the general to act on the defensive.
  3. Indispensableness; the state of being requisite. The necessity of funds to support public credit, no man questions. The necessity of economy in domestic concerns is admitted. No man can plead necessity in excuse for crimes.
  4. Extreme indigence; pinching poverty; pressing need. The cause of all the distractions in his court or army proceeded from the extreme poverty and necessity His Majesty was in. Clarendon.
  5. Unavoidableness; inevitableness; as, the necessity of a consequence from certain premises.
  6. In the plural, things requisite for a purpose. These should be hours for necessities, / Not for delights. Shak.

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