de·​pen·​dence | \di-ˈpen-dən(t)s \
variants: or less commonly dependance

Definition of dependence 

1 : the quality or state of being dependent especially : the quality or state of being influenced or determined by or subject to another

3 : one that is relied on

4a : drug addiction developed a dependence on painkillers

b : habituation sense 2b

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Examples of dependence in a Sentence

The company was hurt by its dependence on government loans. Our dependence upon foreign oil makes our economy vulnerable. a harmful dependence on foreign oil
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Recent Examples on the Web

But its dependence on exports and EU funds is also a source of vulnerability. The Economist, "Central Europe’s Goldilocks economies," 5 July 2018 The message that dependence on chemical substances is not a character flaw but a chronic illness will shine through in words, demeanor, and empathy. Sandeep Kapoor, STAT, "‘Angels in America’ again: It’s time to humanize addiction," 1 June 2018 For Germany, the world’s largest gas importer, the dependence is especially strong: About 40 percent of the country’s gas comes from Russia. Griff Witte, Washington Post, "A giant gas pipeline raises the specter of Russian influence in Europe," 25 Apr. 2018 But the dependence on the touch screen can be confusing for some functions, such as the windshield wiper control. Robert Duffer,, "Tesla Model 3 just may be worth the wait," 19 Apr. 2018 Analysts say improving conditions in Colombia’s rural areas is key to freeing poor farmers from dependence on coca production, but the road has been slow. Washington Post, "US report: Colombia coca production surges to record high," 26 June 2018 One of these counties was Barcelona, which became a strong political ward despite its feudal dependence on the Central European emperor. Kate Keller, Smithsonian, "Beyond the Headlines, Catalan Culture Has a Long History of Vibrancy and Staying Power," 25 June 2018 Given the dynamic between the two of them, and that Cole is so obviously still in love with Alison, her dependence on him is adding a lot of pressure to their relationship., "The Affair Season 4 Episode 2 Recap: Maybe A Round Of Coffee?," 25 June 2018 Petro proposes overhauling Colombia’s economic model to free it from dependence on oil exports and instead boost agricultural production through land reform. Christine Armario And Joshua Goodman,, "Conservative tops Colombia presidential vote but runoff needed," 28 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dependence.' 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 dependence

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

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

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More Definitions for dependence



English Language Learners Definition of dependence

: the state of needing something or someone else for support, help, etc.

: the state of being addicted to alcohol or a drug


de·​pen·​dence | \di-ˈpen-dəns \

Kids Definition of dependence

1 : a condition of being influenced and caused by something else

2 : a state of having to rely on someone or something dependence on charity

4 : addiction to drugs or alcohol


de·​pen·​dence | \di-ˈpen-dən(t)s \

Medical Definition of dependence 

1 : the quality or state of being dependent upon or unduly subject to the influence of another

2a : drug addiction

b : habituation sense 2b

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Comments on dependence

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


living or existing for a long time

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