1. Necessary; required: needful repairs.
2. Being in need of something: "The mother ... is attracted, distracted, needful of the outside world just when the child requires her to be focused, steady, home" (Anne Roiphe).
(used with a pl. verb) Needy people considered as a group: programs that provided jobs for the needful.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.