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What is the meaning of "necessity is the mother of invention"?

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Quick Answer

"Necessity is the mother of invention" is a proverbial saying meaning that a problem or a need often encourages creative thinking in order to solve the problem. The idea first appeared with slightly different wording in English in 1519.

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What is the meaning of "necessity is the mother of invention"?
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Full Answer

The precise origin of the phrase is not known. It is often attributed to Greek philosopher Plato and does appear in his "Republic," according to Dictionary.com. However, the use of this idiom is more likely a decision by translators rather than a literal translation.The phrase first entered English through Latin translation and originally appeared as "Need taught him wit." The notion of problems leading to creative solution is common across cultures, and different versions of the phrase appear in many different languages.

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