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A phrase used in situations where one is not going to learn all details—rather, just the essential or personally pertinent information. Often used in the phrase "a need-to-know basis." They won't tell me anything else right now—they say all updates will be shared on a need-to-know basis. They said the information they were providing was strictly need-to-know.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.