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

How to do that, however, is less clear, since Europe’s security dependence on the United States is both obvious and will not change soon, despite European talk of more money for a joint European defense. Steven Erlanger, New York Times, "Amid the Trumpian Chaos, Europe Sees a Strategy: Divide and Conquer," 13 July 2018 And also today, the president singled out the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, for what is her country's obscene dependence on Russian energy, and for the billions and billions of dollars flowing from Germany right into Vladimir Putin's pockets. Fox News, "Steve Bannon on NATO: Trump is saying 'no more games'," 12 July 2018 The Kremlin hopes to increase the dependence of Germany and Western Europe on Russian gas while depriving Ukraine and other inconvenient states of the transit fees Russia must pay to use current pipelines. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Trump and the Russia Pipeline," 11 July 2018 So is political dependence: This is a city that depends on wealth generated elsewhere and redistributed, in a nation that lately isn’t eager to redistribute more. Joseph N. Distefano,, "Philly poverty: Cause, or effect?," 11 July 2018 Verbal offers and contracts aren’t binding, and, despite our increasing dependence on it, the same goes for e-mail. Houston Chronicle, "Counteroffers and contracts: Follow tips to get through process," 8 July 2018 Their brows are not furrowed by the stress and expense of car ownership and dependence. Eben Weiss, Outside Online, "No, Cycling Isn't Elitist," 5 July 2018 Chinese leaders, worried about skies choked with pollution and the country’s growing dependence on foreign oil, have championed electric cars as a possible solution. New York Times, "Tesla’s Latest Aim: Build 500,000 Cars a Year in China," 10 July 2018 He is expected, for example, to direct Pemex to build new refineries in Mexico to reduce dependence on foreign gasoline, which would have significant implications for U.S. refiners. James Osborne, San Antonio Express-News, "As likely Mexican president Obrador softens tone, U.S. oil sector crosses fingers," 29 June 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

10 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for dependence

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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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