Etymology
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need (n.)

Middle English nede, from Old English nied (West Saxon), ned (Mercian) "what is required, wanted, or desired; necessity, compulsion, the constraint of unavoidable circumstances; duty; hardship, emergency, trouble, time of peril or distress; errand, business," originally "violence, force," from Proto-Germanic *nauthiz/*naudiz (source also of Old Saxon nod, Old Norse nauðr "distress, emergency, need," Old Frisian ned, "force, violence; danger, anxiety, fear; need," Middle Dutch, Dutch nood "need, want, distress, peril," Old High German not, German Not "need, distress, necessity, hardship," Gothic nauþs "need").

This is apparently from a root *nauti- "death, to be exhausted," source also of Old English ne, neo, Old Norse na, Gothic naus "corpse;" Old Irish naunae "famine, shortage," Old Cornish naun "corpse;" Old Church Slavonic navi "corpse," nazda, Russian nuzda, Polish nędza "misery, distress;" Old Prussian nowis "corpse," nautin "need, distress," nawe "death;" Lithuanian novyti "to torture, kill," nove "death." As it is attested only in Germanic, Celtic, and Balto-Slavic, it might be non-PIE, from a regional substrate language.

From 12c. as "lack of something that is necessary or important; state or condition of needing something;" also "a necessary act, required work or duty." Meaning "extreme poverty, destitution, want of means of subsistence" is from early 14c. 

The more common Old English word for "need, necessity, want" was ðearf, but they were connected via a notion of "trouble, pain," and the two formed a compound, niedðearf "need, necessity, compulsion, thing needed." Nied also might have been influenced by Old English neod "desire, longing," which often was spelled the same. Nied was common in Old English compounds, such as niedfaru "compulsory journey," a euphemism for "death;" niedhæmed "rape" (the second element being an Old English word meaning "sexual intercourse");  niedling "slave."

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need (v.)

Old English neodian "be necessary, be required (for some purpose)," intransitive; also transitive, "require, have need of," from the same root as need (n.). Meaning "to be under obligation (to do something)," especially in negative or interrogative sentences implying obligation or necessity, is from late 14c. Related: Needed; needing. The adjectival phrase need-to-know is attested from 1952. Dismissive phrase who needs it?, popular from c. 1960, is a translated Yiddishism.

Need, especially in negative and interrogative sentences implying obligation or necessity, is often used, in the present, before an infinitive, usually without to, need being then invariable (without the personal terminations of the second and third persons singular): as, he or they need not go; need he do it? [Century Dictionary]
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unneeded (adj.)
1725, from un- (1) "not" + past participle of need (v.).
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needless (adj.)

"not needed, unnecessary," c. 1300, nedeles, from need (n.) + -less. Related: Needlessly. Phrase needless to say or speak is recorded from early 16c.

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needs (adv.)

"of necessity, necessarily," late 14c. and surviving in archaic constructions involving must, from Middle English nede (see need), used as an adverb reinforcing must (v.), hence the genitive ending.

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needways (adv.)

"by necessity, by compulsion," early 14c., a northern and Scottish word, marked as obsolete in OED; from need (n.) + way (n.), with adverbial genitive. In a similar sense Middle English also had needgates, needlong (c. 1400).

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nudnik (n.)

"a bore, irritating person," 1947, from Yiddish, with agential suffix -nik + Polish nuda "boredom" or Russian nudnyi "tedious, boring," from Old Church Slavonic *nauda-, from *nauti- "need" (see need (n.)).

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needy (adj.)

c. 1300, neodi, "very poor, indigent," from need (n.) + adjectival suffix -y (2). Similar formation in Dutch noodig, German nothig, Old Norse nauðigr. The sense of "needing or desiring more, not satisfied" is from early 14c. As a noun from early 15c. Related: Needily; neediness.

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needful (adj.)

c. 1200, niedfulle, "necessary, needed, useful," also "in want, poor, hungry, starving, having or exhibiting need or distress," from need (n.) + -ful. Meaning "characterized by need" is from mid-13c. From mid-14c. as "indispensable, necessary," also "urgent, demanding attention."

As a noun, "the poor," from c. 1200. The meaning "what is necessary" is from 1709. The colloquial sense of "cash" is recorded from 1774 in phrase the needful "ready money." Related: Needfully; needfulness.

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needfire (n.)

1630s, "fire produced by the friction of one piece of wood upon another or of a rope upon a stick of wood," from need (n.) + fire (n.).

From ancient times peculiar virtue was attributed to fire thus obtained, which was supposed to have great efficacy in overcoming the enchantment to which disease, such as that of cattle, was ascribed. The superstition survived in the Highlands of Scotland until a recent date. [Century Dictionary]
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