de·pend | \di-ˈpend \

Definition of depend 

intransitive verb

1 : to be determined, based, or contingent (see contingent entry 1 sense 1) life depends on food the value of Y depends on X

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

3a : to place reliance or trust you can depend on me

b : to be dependent especially for financial support Her family depends on her paycheck. still depends on his parents

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

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Synonyms for depend


calculate, count, lean, reckon, rely

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Examples of depend in a Sentence

whether or not we play baseball will depend on how much rain we get I know I can always depend on you for help when I really need it.

Recent Examples on the Web

But many other Chinese clients that depend on international ties are choosing to invest elsewhere because of tariffs and other barriers, as well as growing antagonism toward China more generally. New York Times, "Trump’s Trade War With China Pierces the Heart of Michigan," 12 July 2018 Scribes transcribing the recitations would have heard different versions depending on the storyteller, so there were likely various versions of the Homer epics works floating around the ancient world. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Oldest Greek Fragment of Homer Discovered on Clay Tablet," 11 July 2018 The Spanish political left, however, has been more willing to confront the legacy of the country’s fascist past, depending on the politics of the moment. Joseph Zeballos-roig, The New Republic, "How to Dig Up a Dictator," 11 July 2018 But last month an arbitration court sided with Nativa, which plans to sell its version for 20 percent to 66 percent less, depending upon the dose, a company spokeswoman wrote us. Ed Silverman, STAT, "A Russian court grants a compulsory license for a best-selling Celgene drug," 10 July 2018 The exact treatment plan for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma depends on the type and location of the cancer but may include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation. Andrea Park, SELF, "After a Second Back Surgery, Abby Lee Miller Shows Off Her Healing Progress on Instagram," 2 July 2018 Adam Weymouth, a Brit, spent the summer of 2016 (and a portion of 2017) canoeing 2,000 miles of the Yukon River for the purpose of learning about the river's king salmon and the people and communities that depend upon them. Nancy Lord, Anchorage Daily News, "In ‘Kings of the Yukon,’ paddling 2,000 miles to witness what’s left behind when salmon runs falter," 30 June 2018 Kathy Griffin is depending on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "These Celebrities Have a Lot of Thoughts About the Supreme Court Shakeup," 28 June 2018 Michigan is a state of struggling towns, places that depend on a trickle of tourism, small farms, or a single industry. Heather Radke, Longreads, "A Beginner’s Guide to Fly Fishing With Your Father," 16 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'depend.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of depend

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for depend

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

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Statistics for depend

Last Updated

6 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for depend

The first known use of depend was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of depend

—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


de·pend | \di-ˈpend \
depended; depending

Kids Definition of depend

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

depend on

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

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

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Comments on depend

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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