Share this entry

dependant Line breaks: de¦pend|ant
Pronunciation: /dɪˈpɛnd(ə)nt/
(also dependent)

Definition of dependant in English:


A person who relies on another, especially a family member, for financial support: a single man with no dependants
More example sentences
  • It was large enough to accommodate the family and its dependants, and the bevy of servants who supported them.
  • You usually need life insurance of some kind if you own a house, have children or other dependents who rely on your income, or have large debts.
  • The legion is a charity which safeguards the welfare, interests and memory of those who have served in the armed forces and their families and dependants.
child, minor;
relative, family member;
hanger-on, parasite;
(dependants)offspring, progeny
archaic fosterling


Late Middle English (denoting a dependency): from Old French, literally 'hanging down from', present participle of dependre (see depend).


Until recently the only correct spelling of the noun in British English was dependant, as in a single man with no dependants. However, the variant dependent is now standard, and indeed it is now as common as dependant in the Oxford English Corpus. In US English dependent is the standard form for the noun. The adjective is spelled -ent, not -ant, as in we are dependent on his goodwill.

Definition of dependant in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day fortissimo
Pronunciation: fɔːˈtɪsɪməʊ
(especially as a direction) very loud or loudly