Definition of dependent in English:

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Pronunciation: /dɪˈpɛnd(ə)nt/


1 (dependent on/upon) Contingent on or determined by: the various benefits will be dependent on length of service
More example sentences
  • The organization's success, in fact its very survival, over the long term is dependent on ethical leadership.
  • The problem is that such a realization of search is very dependent on the query word or phrase, entered by the user.
  • The stability of rule-ordered actions is dependent upon the shared meaning assigned to words used to formulate a set of rules.
2Requiring someone or something for financial or other support: an economy heavily dependent on oil exports households with dependent children
More example sentences
  • Firstly, the health economy has, for many years, been living beyond its means, and has been dependent on external financial support to supplement the resources it initially received.
  • During the 1990s, the bank pushed large loans on the state so as to render it dependent on outside financial support.
  • The care of the children, financial support for the dependent spouse, the children, and other matters such as pension and life assurance and inheritance rights will also be decided by the court.
2.1Unable to do without: people dependent on drugs
More example sentences
  • Laurel, a non-smoker, has emphysema, which has left her unable to work and dependent on an oxygen mask for the past five years.
  • These vulnerable populations remained entirely dependent on assistance from UN agencies and non-governmental organisations.
  • Modern weather forecasts and military defences are dependent on the performance of the batteries in these satellites.
addicted to, reliant on, over-reliant on, fixated on;
given to using, given to abusing
informal hooked on
US informal jonesing on/for
3 Grammar (Of a clause, phrase, or word) subordinate to another clause, phrase, or word: a clause dependent on another clause
More example sentences
  • Where the marker is a suffix on the verb, the dependent clause precedes the independent one, as in.
  • There's a verb missing in that dependent clause.
  • Mostly, the relation designated by a plain verb is conceptually dependent.


variant spelling of dependant.


On the distinction between dependent and dependant, see dependant (usage).



Example sentences
  • Past collaborative efforts have not been successful because teacher-education units have chosen to work dependently rather than interdependently on matters such as recruitment.
  • Bureaucracies might be viewed in terms of major periods, such as neoliberalism, and world-systemic relations, such as dependently developing states.
  • He appeared to be limping, leaning dependently on a short gnarled cane.


Late Middle English dependant 'hanging down', from Old French, present participle of dependre (see depend). The spelling change in the 16th century was due to association with the Latin participial stem dependent-.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: de¦pend|ent

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