verb de·pend \di-ˈpend\

Definition of depend

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to be determined, based, or contingent (see 1contingent 4) life depends on food the value of Y depends on X

  3. 2 :  to be pending or undecided matters of greatest moment were depending — John Milton

  4. 3a :  to place reliance or trust you can depend on meb :  to be dependent especially for financial support Her family depends on her paycheck. still depends on his parents

  5. 4 :  to hang down a star was depending from his neck — Arnold Bennett

Examples of depend in a sentence

  1. whether or not we play baseball will depend on how much rain we get

  2. I know I can always depend on you for help when I really need it.

Origin and Etymology of depend

Middle English, from Anglo-French dependre, modification of Latin dependēre, from de- + pendēre to hang — more at pendant

First Known Use: 15th century

DEPEND Defined for English Language Learners


verb de·pend \di-ˈpend\

Definition of depend for English Language Learners

  • —used in speech in phrases like it depends and that depends to say that the answer to a question will be different in different situations

DEPEND Defined for Kids


verb de·pend \di-ˈpend\

Definition of depend for Students




  1. :  to be subject to determination by the situation Are you going to the party? I don't know. It depends.

depend on

  1. 1 :  to rely for support Children depend on their parents.

  2. 2 :  to be determined by or based on a person, action, or condition The people had been very proud … that victory or defeat depended on them. — Theodore Taylor, The Cay

  3. 3 :  1trust 2, rely You can depend on me to get the job done.

Word Root of depend

The Latin word pendere, meaning “to cause to hang down,” gives us the root pend. Words from the Latin pendere have something to do with hanging. To suspend is to cause something to hang down from a single point. To depend is to hang, or rely, on the support of others. A pendant is an ornament that hangs free, as on a necklace. A pendulum is an object hung from a point that swings freely back and forth, as in a clock.

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up depend? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a trip made at another's expense

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