different between necessitousness vs necessity




From necessitous +? -ness.


necessitousness (uncountable)

  1. The state or condition of impoverishment; material need, especially of an urgent nature.
    • 1716, Thomas Browne, Christian Morals, 2nd edition edited by Samuel Johnson, London: J. Payne, 1756, Part I, p. 13,[1]
      [] give thou also before asking; that is, where want is silently clamorous, and men’s necessities not their tongues do loudly call for thy mercies. For though sometimes necessitousness be dumb, or misery speak not out, yet true charity is sagacious, and will find out hints for beneficence.
    • 1973, Jacob Ziegel, "Recent Developments in Canadian Consumer Credit Law," The Modern Law Review, vol. 36, no. 5, pp. 495-6:
      If necessitousness implies a pressing need for the money and a lack of ability to bargain over rates, then it would seem the modern consumer is not in a very different position from his pre-war cousin.
  2. (rare) The state or condition of being necessary or essential; necessity.
    • 1946, Walter Firey, "Ecological Considerations in Planning for Rurban Fringes," American Sociological Review, vol. 11, no. 4, p. 413:
      Some of the forces incline the land toward agricultural use, others incline it toward residential use. . . . There is no economic necessitousness that would dictate one or the other use.

Usage notes

  • Necessitude, necessitousness, necessitation, necessariness are all nouns closely related to necessity, but they tend to have narrower ranges of usage than the term necessity. The principal sense of necessitude and necessitousness is impoverishment, but the plural form of the former (necessitudes) denotes a set of circumstances which is inevitable or unavoidable. Necessitation is used to suggest necessity as a philosophical or cosmic principle. Necessariness tends to be used to stress a direct connection to the adjective necessary.

Related terms

  • necessitous

necessitousness From the web:




From Middle English necessite, from Old French necessite, from Latin necessit?s (unavoidableness, compulsion, exigency, necessity), from necesse (unavoidable, inevitable); see necessary.


  • IPA(key): /n??s?s?ti/


necessity (countable and uncountable, plural necessities)

  1. The quality or state of being necessary, unavoidable, or absolutely requisite.
  2. The condition of being needy; desperate need; lack.
    • 1863, Richard Sibbes, The Successful Seeker, in The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, D.D., Volume VI, James Nichol, page 125,
      For it is in vain for a man to think to seek God in his necessity and exigence, if he seek not God in his ordinances, and do not joy in them.
  3. Something necessary; a requisite; something indispensable.
    • 20th century, Tenzin Gyatso (attributed)
      Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.
  4. Something which makes an act or an event unavoidable; an irresistible force; overruling power.
    • 1804, Wordsworth, The Small Celandine
      I stopped, and said with inly muttered voice,
      'It doth not love the shower, nor seek the cold:
      This neither is its courage nor its choice,
      But its necessity in being old.
  5. The negation of freedom in voluntary action; the subjection of all phenomena, whether material or spiritual, to inevitable causation; necessitarianism. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  6. (law) Greater utilitarian good; used in justification of a criminal act.
  7. (law, in the plural) Indispensable requirements (of life).


  • (state of being necessary): inevitability, certainty


  • (state of being necessary): impossibility, contingency
  • (something indispensable): luxury

Derived terms

Related terms


Further reading

  • necessity in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • necessity in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.


  • cysteines

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