It's a Must: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
October 23, 2023

"It's a must" means something is necessary or highly recommended. It expresses a strong recommendation or necessity for a particular action, experience, or item. It communicates that the suggested thing should not be missed or avoided but is essential or important in a given context.

In short:

  • It means something is highly essential or strongly recommended.
  • The phrase highlights the importance or necessity of a particular action, event, or item.

What Does "It's a Must" Mean?

The phrase communicates that something is of utmost importance or priority. When you label something "a must," you're saying it shouldn't be skipped or missed out on. It carries the idea of obligation, high recommendation, or necessity.

Let's dig into its core meanings and usage:

  • "It's a must" means the mentioned thing is necessary or essential.
  • It's a phrase that suggests missing out on something would be a mistake or regrettable.
  • The phrase emphasizes the significance or priority of an action or item.
  • Often heard in contexts like travel: "Visiting the Eiffel Tower when in Paris is a must" or recommending experiences: "If you've never tried bungee jumping, it's a must to give it a shot at least once."
  • It can also be applied in instructional contexts, indicating mandatory steps or processes.
  • Similar expressions include "it's essential," "it's crucial," or "you can't miss it."

Where Does "It's a Must" Come From?

The origin of "it's a must" is vague, but it's believed to stem from the basic meaning of "must," which denotes obligation. Historically, "must" has been used to describe obligatory or necessary things. The phrase "it's a must" is a more colloquial way to stress the essential nature of something, especially in the context of recommendations or advice.

Historical Example

" However, along the Pacific Coast where a pilot flies from the cold, heavy air of the ocean to light, dry air in the region of the mountains, deserts and plateaus, it's a must. And it's a double-must if you're flying a lightplane, particularly one of low horsepower."

- Flying Magazine, May 1941

10 Examples of "It's a Must" in Sentences

To help you understand how to use this phrase, here are some examples from various contexts:

  • When you visit Italy, tasting authentic pizza in Naples is a must.
  • Reading that book is a must to understand the topic in depth.
  • It's a must to keep the team happy to maintain productivity.
  • For every makeup enthusiast, having a good quality foundation is a must.
  • It's a must to turn the volume up if you want to hear every detail of the song.
  • While many consider it a pie in the sky, for me, it's a must to secure that job.
  • If you're a fan of art, visiting the Louvre Museum in Paris is a must.
  • Before starting my day, it's a must to surf the net for the latest news.
  • In this busy city, finding early morning parking is a must if you want a good spot.
  • To break your losing streak, it's a must to practice daily.

Examples of "It's a Must" in Pop Culture

This phrase can also be found in pop culture, usually emphasizing the importance of certain actions or experiences.

Here are some examples:

  • "Must-Have Nursery Gadgets for Modern Parents" by Aurora Brooks mentions: "With its advanced features and convenience, it's a must-have gadget for modern parents. Portable. White. Noise. Machine. Create a soothing environment for your baby on the go with a..."
  • "Airbnb For Dummies" states: "It's a must-have, whether it's central air or a window unit. (Imagine staying in a stuffy New York City apartment in July or an Atlanta bungalow in September with no AC.) And, if you're trying to attract a higher caliber guest..."
  • The book "It’s Not That Complicated" has the line: "It's a must to know how to write reports as head of security. I do it on a daily basis. Twice. Daily.”
  • A quote from "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Walt Disney World": " This show is not a FASTPASS attraction by accident. It's not only a good show, it's a Must Do! for anyone with a child."
  • A list of the 90 Best Books for Comedy Fans on Vulture recommends a book for fans, students, or creators of comedy, describing it as "...a must-read."
  • An article in The New York Times discussing Jordan Peele's movie "Us" quotes a viewer's reaction: "It's a must-see."

Other/Different Ways to Say "It's a Must"

Various other expressions can express a similar idea as "it's a must."

Here are some alternatives:

  • It's essential
  • You have to
  • It's crucial
  • Can't miss it
  • It's a necessity
  • You won't regret it
  • It's imperative
  • You should definitely
  • It's a top priority
  • It's non-negotiable

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "It's a Must":

  • What does "it's a must" mean?

"It's a must" is an informal way of saying something is essential or highly recommended. It highlights the importance or necessity of an action or experience.

  • How can I use "it's a must" in a sentence?

Use it to emphasize the importance of doing something or to strongly recommend an experience. For instance: “For security reasons, it's a must that everyone logs in with their unique credentials.”

  • Is the phrase "it's a must" informal?

Yes, the phrase is typically considered informal and is often used in casual conversations or in situations where a strong recommendation is being made.

  • Does "it's a must" imply urgency?

Not always. While "it's a must" emphasizes importance or recommendation, it doesn't necessarily mean something needs to be done immediately.

  • Is it applicable in professional settings?

It can, but it's more commonly used in casual contexts. In professional settings, it might be more appropriate to use phrases like "it's essential" or "it's imperative."

  • Is the phrase used globally?

Yes, the phrase "it's a must" is understood in many parts of the world, especially where English is spoken. However, the exact phrasing might differ in other languages or cultures.

  • Can we use it to describe experiences and things?

Yes, "it's a must" can refer to both experiences (like visiting a landmark) and things (like owning a specific gadget).

  • Does it always suggest a positive recommendation?

Generally, "it's a must" implies a positive endorsement or recommendation. It suggests that the action or experience is worthwhile.

  • Can we use it in advertising?

Yes, the phrase is sometimes used in advertising to emphasize the desirability or importance of a product or service.

  • Can we replace it with the phrase "it's a necessity"?

While both phrases suggest something is important, "it's a necessity" carries a stronger implication of need, whereas "it's a must" leans more toward a strong recommendation.

Final Thoughts About "It's a Must"

The phrase "it's a must" is a catchy way to express that something is highly recommended or important. Whether talking about a fantastic movie, an amazing restaurant, or a life-changing book, using this phrase makes your recommendation stand out.

Here's a quick recap:

  • It's a common informal phrase that gives weight to recommendations or emphasizes the importance of an action.
  • It's versatile and can describe experiences and things, making it handy in various situations.
  • Though it's primarily an informal phrase, it's understood widely, effectively grabbing attention and underscoring suggestions.
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