Definition of depend in English:

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Pronunciation: /dɪˈpɛnd/


[no object]
1 (depend on/upon) Be controlled or determined by: differences in earnings depended on a wide variety of factors
More example sentences
  • It is very evident that the rigour with which merger control is enforced depends in part on the agenda of the Minister.
  • The investment return depends solely on the difference between what you paid and what someone else pays you when you sell.
  • This figure varies between blood banks, depending again on the testing methodologies and tests used in screening.
be contingent on, be conditional on, be dependent on, turn on, pivot on, hinge on, hang on, rest on, be based on, rely on;
be subject to, be controlled by, be determined by, be influenced by, be decided by, be resultant from, relate to
2 (depend on/upon) Be able to trust; rely on: we can depend on her to deliver a quality product
More example sentences
  • As the months sped by, Jenny grew to rely and depend on Sammy more than ever before.
  • Instead of depending on medication, I rely on exercise to keep my body healthy.
  • Your child wants you to stay in control while they are out of control, so they can rely and depend on you.
2.1Need for financial or other support: a town which had depended heavily upon the wool industry
More example sentences
  • This meals-on-wheels and other services depend on financial support from the public.
  • Small enterprises depend on community financial support to move from small to medium size.
  • The media have gone from depending upon subscribers to depending upon advertisers for financial support.
rely on, place reliance on, lean on, cling to, be supported by, be sustained by, be unable to manage without;
count on, bank on, trust, trust in, put one's trust in, put one's faith in, have faith in, have (every) confidence in, believe in, swear by, be sure of, pin one's hope on
2.2Be grammatically dependent on.
Example sentences
  • Subordinate clauses depend on the main clause for their meanings.
  • Draw dependency diagrams for the following examples; make sure you decide for every preposition whether it depends on a noun or a verb.
  • An adjective can depend on a noun, but can it also depend on another adjective?
3 archaic or literary Hang down: his tongue depended from open jaws
More example sentences
  • The number of ribs that may depend from each panel is not critical to this invention.
  • Each of these portions has slots formed therein and tongues which depend from each slot.


In informal use, it is quite common for the on to be dropped in sentences such as it all depends how you look at it (rather than it all depends on how you look at it), but in well-formed written English the on should be retained.



depending on

According to: makes 8-10 burgers (depending on size)
More example sentences
  • Tickets are $19.95 - $44.95 depending on how much food you'll need.
  • We have a few options for times, depending on how we're getting there, and how late people want to stay up.
  • But with the right turn restrictions programme, the congestion could, depending on how it is implemented, be eased up thereby leading to an improved traffic flow.

it (or that) (all) depends

Used to express uncertainty in answering a question: How many people use each screen? It all depends
More example sentences
  • Wrong question, since it depends on the definition of life, and so both answers are possible.
  • The short answer to your question is that it depends on what sort of production facilities you currently have.
  • Hunt said the answer to that depends on how long ago the drug use took place.


Late Middle English (in sense 3; also in the sense 'wait or be in suspense'): from Old French dependre, from Latin dependere, from de- 'down' + pendere 'hang'.

  • pendant from Middle English:

    This was originally a term for an architectural decoration projecting downwards. It comes from penda(u)nt, an Old French word meaning ‘hanging’, from Latin pendere. The word was used from late Middle English for a jewel attached to clothing but later it was applied to one attached to a necklace. Use of the word for a light fitting hanging from the ceiling dates from the mid 19th century. Pending (mid 17th century) is an anglicization of French pendant. Pendulum (mid 17th century) is taken directly from Latin, as is pendulous (early 17th century). Suspend (Middle English) combined this root with sub- ‘from below’, compensation (Late Middle English) is something that ‘weighs against’ something that has happened, depend (Late Middle English) is ‘hang down’, and recompence (Late Middle English) originally ‘to weigh one thing against another’.

Words that rhyme with depend

amend, append, apprehend, ascend, attend, befriend, bend, blend, blende, commend, comprehend, condescend, contend, defriend, emend, end, expend, extend, fend, forfend, friend, impend, interdepend, lend, mend, misapprehend, misspend, offend, on-trend, Oostende, Ostend, perpend, portend, rend, reprehend, scrag-end, send, spend, subtend, suspend, tail end, tend, transcend, trend, underspend, unfriend, upend, vend, weekend, wend

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: de¦pend

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