Desire vs. Need: What's the Difference?
Desire is a strong want for something, while need is a necessity essential for survival or well-being.
Desire represents a strong wish or longing for something that may not be essential. Need refers to something fundamental for survival or well-being, such as food or shelter.
Desires are often subjective and vary greatly among individuals. Needs are more universal and consistent across different people.
Fulfilling a desire can lead to pleasure and satisfaction, but it's not crucial for basic functioning. Fulfilling a need is essential for maintaining health, safety, or stability.
Desires can be limitless and change over time, influenced by personal preferences and external factors. Needs are more finite and consistent, dictated by basic human requirements.
In decision-making, desires often represent wants or aspirations, whereas needs signify requirements or necessities.
Non-essential, for pleasure or luxury
Essential for survival or well-being
Subjective, varies among individuals
More universal and consistent
Leads to satisfaction or pleasure
Crucial for basic functioning
Can be limitless and changeable
More finite and consistent
Role in Decision-Making
Represents wants or aspirations
Signifies requirements or necessities
Desire and Need Definitions
He had a burning desire to become an artist.
Necessity for Survival
Water is a basic need for all living creatures.
Wish or Longing
Her desire to travel the world was insatiable.
There's a great need for affordable healthcare.
The desire for knowledge kept him reading late into the night.
The accident victims are in need of immediate medical attention.
To wish or long for; want
A reporter who desires an interview.
A teen who desires to travel.
A condition or situation in which something must be supplied in order for a certain condition to be maintained or a desired state to be achieved
Crops in need of water.
A child's need for affection.
To want to have sex with (another person).
Something required or wanted; a requisite
"Those of us who led the charge for these women's issues ... shared a common vision in the needs of women" (Olympia Snowe).
To express a wish for; request.
There is no need for you to go.
The feeling of wanting to have something or wishing that something will happen.
A condition of poverty or misfortune
The family is in dire need.
An instance of this feeling
She had a lifelong desire to visit China.
To be under the necessity of or the obligation to
They need not come. You needn't be concerned.
Sexual appetite; passion.
To have need of; require
The family needs money. We need to get some more paint.
An object of such feeling or passion
A quiet evening with you is my only desire.
To have an obligation (to do something)
You need to clean up your room.
(Archaic) A request or petition.
To be subject (to an action) by obligation
Bags need to be stowed underneath the seat in front of you.
To want; to wish for earnestly.
I desire to speak with you.
To want to be subject to
We don't need another lecture on the subject.
To put a request to (someone); to entreat.
To be in need or want.
To want emotionally or sexually.
She has desired him since they first met.
To be necessary.
To express a wish for; to entreat; to request.
A requirement for something; something needed.
There's no need to speculate; we can easily find out for sure.
She grew irritated with his constant need for attention.
Our needs are not being met.
I've always tried to have few needs beyond food, clothing and shelter.
To require; to demand; to claim.
Lack of means of subsistence; poverty; indigence; destitution.
To miss; to regret.
(transitive) To have an absolute requirement for.
Living things need water to survive.
(countable) Someone or something wished for.
It is my desire to speak with you.
You’re my heart’s desire.
(transitive) To want strongly; to feel that one must have something.
After ten days of hiking, I needed a shower and a shave.
(uncountable) Strong attraction, particularly romantic or sexual.
His desire for her kept him awake at night.
(modal verb) To be obliged or required (to do something).
You need not go if you don't want to.
(uncountable) The feeling of desiring; an eager longing for something.
Too much desire can seriously affect one’s judgment.
(intransitive) To be required; to be necessary.
(uncountable) Motivation. en
To be necessary (to someone).
To long for; to wish for earnestly; to covet.
Neither shall any man desire thy land.
Ye desire your child to live.
A state that requires supply or relief; pressing occasion for something; necessity; urgent want.
And the city had no need of the sun.
I have no need to beg.
Be governed by your needs, not by your fancy.
To express a wish for; to entreat; to request.
Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord?
Desire him to go in; trouble him no more.
Want of the means of subsistence; poverty; indigence; destitution.
Famine is in thy cheeks;Need and oppression starveth in thine eyes.
To require; to demand; to claim.
A doleful case desires a doleful song.
That which is needful; anything necessary to be done; (pl.) necessary things; business.
To miss; to regret.
She shall be pleasant while she lives, and desired when she dies.
Situation of need; peril; danger.
The natural longing that is excited by the enjoyment or the thought of any good, and impels to action or effort its continuance or possession; an eager wish to obtain or enjoy.
Unspeakable desire to see and know.
To be in want of; to have cause or occasion for; to lack; to require, as supply or relief.
Other creatures all day longRove idle, unemployed, and less need rest.
An expressed wish; a request; petition.
And slowly was my mother broughtTo yield consent to my desire.
To be wanted; to be necessary.
When we have done it, we have done all that is in our power, and all that needs.
Anything which is desired; an object of longing.
The Desire of all nations shall come.
Of necessity. See Needs.
Excessive or morbid longing; lust; appetite.
A condition requiring relief;
She satisfied his need for affection
God has no need of men to accomplish His work
There is a demand for jobs
Anything that is necessary but lacking;
He had sufficient means to meet his simple needs
I tried to supply his wants
The feeling that accompanies an unsatisfied state
The psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behavior;
We did not understand his motivation
He acted with the best of motives
An inclination to want things;
A man of many desires
A state of extreme poverty or destitution;
Their indigence appalled him
A general state of need exists among the homeless
Something that is desired
Require as useful, just, or proper;
It takes nerve to do what she did
Success usually requires hard work
This job asks a lot of patience and skill
This position demands a lot of personal sacrifice
This dinner calls for a spectacular dessert
This intervention does not postulates a patient's consent
Feel or have a desire for; want strongly;
I want to go home now
I want my own room
Have need of;
This piano wants the attention of a competent tuner
Expect and wish;
I trust you will behave better from now on
I hope she understands that she cannot expect a raise
Have or feel a need for;
Always needing friends and money
Express a desire for
The need for shelter is essential in harsh weather.
His desire for success drove him to work hard.
His need for companionship was evident.
She had a sudden desire for chocolate.
What is a desire?
Desire is a strong wish or longing for something.
Can desires become needs?
Rarely, if a desire is essential for psychological well-being.
Can fulfilling desires be harmful?
Potentially, if it leads to neglecting needs or harmful behaviors.
What is a need?
Need refers to something essential for survival or well-being.
Do desires have any benefits?
Yes, they can motivate personal growth and satisfaction.
Can needs change over time?
Basic needs remain consistent, but individual needs can evolve.
Are needs the same for everyone?
Basic needs are universal, but individual needs can vary.
Is it important to fulfill needs?
Yes, fulfilling needs is crucial for health and stability.
Are desires always materialistic?
No, desires can also be immaterial, like the desire for love or success.
How do desires influence behavior?
Desires can drive individuals to pursue specific goals or experiences.
Do desires contribute to happiness?
They can, if pursued in balance and without neglecting needs.
Can society influence desires?
Yes, societal norms and trends can shape personal desires.
How are needs identified?
Needs are identified as requirements for maintaining health and stability.
Can desires lead to disappointment?
Yes, if they are unrealistic or unattainable.
Are needs linked to survival?
Yes, basic needs are directly linked to survival and well-being.
Is fulfilling every desire possible?
Not always, as desires can be limitless and sometimes conflicting.
Is meeting needs a priority over desires?
Typically, yes, as needs are essential for well-being.
Do children have different needs than adults?
Yes, children have specific developmental needs.
Can unfulfilled desires affect mental health?
Possibly, if it leads to chronic dissatisfaction or unhappiness.
Are needs the same as rights?
Not necessarily, but basic needs are often considered fundamental rights.
Written bySawaira Riaz
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Edited byHuma Saeed
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