necessity is the mother of invention

Cf. PERSIUS Satires Prologue 10 magister artis ingeniique largitor venter, the belly is the teacher of art and the giver of wit. The idea is stated more succinctly in 1519 W. HORMAN Vulgaria 52 Nede taught hym wytte. Necessitas ingenium dedit.

1545 R. ASCHAM Toxophilus II 18v Necessitie, the inuentor of all goodnesse (as all authours in a maner, doo saye)..inuented a shaft heed.

1608 G. CHAPMAN Tragedy of Byron IV. i. The great Mother, Of all productions (graue Necessity).

1658 R. FRANCK Northern Memoirs (1694) 44 Art imitates Nature, and Necessity is the Mother of Invention.

1726 J. SWIFT Gulliver’s Travels IV. X. I soaled my Shoes with wood, which I cut from a Tree... No man could more verify the Truth..That, Necessity is the Mother of Invention.

1861 C. READE Cloister & Hearth II. vi. ‘But, dame, I found language too poor to paint him. I was fain to invent. You know Necessity is the mother of—.’ ‘Ay! ay, that is old enough, o’ conscience’.

2001 Washington Post 18 Nov. B7 If necessity is the mother of invention, calamity is not uncommonly the source of legislation.


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  • necessity is the mother of invention — phrase used for saying that people find ways to do what they have to or get what they need Thesaurus: necessarysynonym Main entry: necessity * * * proverb when the need for something becomes imperative, you are forced to find ways of getting or… …   Useful english dictionary

  • necessity is the mother of invention — ► necessity is the mother of invention proverb when the need for something becomes imperative, you are forced to find ways of getting or achieving it. Main Entry: ↑necessity …   English terms dictionary

  • necessity is the mother of invention — Difficult situations make people inventive …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • necessity is the mother of invention — our needs cause us to invent devices, build a better mousetrap    Do you think the invention of TV proves that necessity is the mother of invention? …   English idioms

  • Necessity is the mother of invention. — something that you say which means that if you want to do something very much you will think of a way to do it. We can t afford expensive paper to paint on so we use old envelopes and newspaper. They do say necessity is the mother of invention …   New idioms dictionary

  • necessity is the mother of invention — things are invented as a result of need, many inventions are born out of a lack …   English contemporary dictionary

  • necessity is the mother of invention — used for saying that people find ways to do what they have to or get what they need …   English dictionary

  • The Mothers of Invention — The Mothers of Invention …   Википедия

  • necessity — ► NOUN (pl. necessities) 1) the state or fact of being required or indispensable. 2) an indispensable thing. 3) a situation enforcing a particular course: created more by necessity than design. ● necessity is the mother of invention Cf.… …   English terms dictionary

  • necessity — (n.) late 14c., constraining power of circumstances, from O.Fr. necessité need, necessity; privation, poverty; distress, torment; obligation, duty (12c.), from L. necessitatem (nom. necessitas) compulsion, need for attention, unavoidableness,… …   Etymology dictionary


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