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

However, the gains for the i9 here were less significant, because much of the testing here depends on the GPU, which is identical in both processors. Richard Baguley, Ars Technica, "Review: Intel’s 9th Gen Core i9 9900K processor hits 5GHz—just at a price," 17 Nov. 2018 The size of the annual payments would depend on the child’s family income, with lower-income families receiving larger checks. Sarah Kliff, Vox, "An exclusive look at Cory Booker’s plan to fight wealth inequality: give poor kids money," 22 Oct. 2018 In dollar amounts, the increase will vary depending on which of the four campuses a student attends. Deirdre Fernandes,, "Tuition at UMass system to increase by 2.5 percent," 14 July 2018 In other words, depending on where and when or with whom, the word holds different meanings, evading classification for decades, maybe deliberately. Krista Stevens, Longreads, "The Town That Camp Built," 12 July 2018 Kavanaugh’s influence will take years to measure and depends on which cases come before him. Brian Bennett, Time, "How Brett Kavanaugh Could Change the Supreme Court—and America," 12 July 2018 Sirius will use up to five modules here, depending on the length of the mission being performed. Elizabeth Howell,, "Touring Where the Mars-500 'Astronauts' Pretended to Take a Red Planet Journey," 11 July 2018 After today, comic book fans of all stripes hope to see at least one more famed Lee cameo in a superhero film, depending on what productions have wrapped. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Legendary Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee has died," 12 Nov. 2018 And after the Lion Air crash, the Indonesian authorities ordered inspections of all 737 Max 8 jets flying in the country—something that other governments have the right to do anytime, depending on what emerges from the accident probe. Barbara Peterson, Condé Nast Traveler, "The FAA, Boeing Issue Alerts for 737 Max 8 Planes After Lion Air Crash," 9 Nov. 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

1 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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More from Merriam-Webster on depend

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with depend

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for depend

Spanish Central: Translation of depend

Nglish: Translation of depend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of depend for Arabic Speakers

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).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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