de·​pend | \ di-ˈpend How to pronounce depend (audio) \
depended; depending; depends

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


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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 This issue can be tricky, and the answer will depend on many variables unique to your situation and location. Gary Singer,, "Ask a real estate pro: We pay for the upkeep of our beach paths, so do we have to allow others to use them?," 24 Dec. 2020 Some more restrictive visiting policies could ease, but that will depend on how many workers are vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in the community. Sarah Freishtat,, "Vaccines are coming to nursing homes, after dozens of Kane County care facilities have experienced recent outbreaks," 22 Dec. 2020 Many of her fellow carolers work for companies like the Opera or Symphony Chorus and are off work and depend on the extra income during the lull. Tony Bravo,, "Canceled holiday parties hurt event workers, from caterers to carolers," 21 Dec. 2020 Georgia and three others get into the volunteer program at Attaway General and depend on each other to survive it all. Kori Williams, Seventeen, "Dixie D’Amelio’s Biggest Moments of 2020," 18 Dec. 2020 Whether Wicker’s bill or this bill becomes the leading vehicle for potential Congressional involvement in college sports may depend on whether Georgia’s Senate run-off elections give Democrats control of the chamber. Steve Berkowitz, USA TODAY, "Democratic senators introduce 'College Athletes Bill of Rights' that could reshape NCAA," 18 Dec. 2020 Jurisdictions are allocated doses pro rata by population over 18 years old, and allocations will depend on the amount of vaccine available. Drew Hinshaw And Stephen Kalin, WSJ, "European Union Eyes Late-December Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout," 17 Dec. 2020 Many details are still being worked out, and how the vaccine will be distributed across California will depend on state and federal guidance. Los Angeles Times, "Essential California: The San Joaquin Valley’s hospital crisis," 14 Dec. 2020 The Footballers should be in the driver’s seat after improving to 6-7, but that will depend on the health of quarterback Alex Smith, who reinjured the leg that kept him out for nearly two years. New York Times, "What We Learned From Week 14 of the N.F.L. Season," 13 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for depend

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for depend

Last Updated

9 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Depend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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How to pronounce depend (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of depend

informal 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 How to pronounce depend (audio) \
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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