de·​pen·​den·​cy | \ di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē How to pronounce dependency (audio) \
plural dependencies

Definition of dependency

2 : something that is dependent on something else especially : a territorial unit under the jurisdiction of a nation but not formally annexed by it
3 : a building (such as a stable) that is an adjunct to a main dwelling

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Examples of dependency in a Sentence

the country's dependency on foreign oil a dependency on foreign oil

Recent Examples on the Web

Despite—or because of—this dependency, Norway's government has also made some aggressive steps to wean consumers from the fossil fuels. Katherine Dunn, Fortune, "In Tesla-Crazy Norway, the Electric Vehicle Revolution Is Already Here," 21 Aug. 2019 In fact, her dependency on him (and his influence over her as a result) was widely known and disapproved of by the public. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "Rasputin and Alexandra's Relationship in 'The Last Czars' Isn't What You Think It Is," 20 July 2019 Irovando was sentenced to 26 months in the Department of Corrections for one count of child abuse, one count of contributing to the dependency of a minor, and one count of organized fraud. Tiffini Theisen,, "Florida mom faked son’s cancer to raise money, investigators say," 1 July 2019 From stinging social media posts to dismissive op-eds, naysayers deride volunteers as selfie-seeking, neocolonial narcissists who steal jobs from locals, create dependency, and do more harm than good. Ken Budd, National Geographic, "Does voluntourism help? Here are the questions to ask before you go," 27 June 2019 In spite of the global effort to curb plastics dependency, plastics use is set to increase through the next decade as oil and gas companies double down on petrochemicals production. Sarah Min, CBS News, "Plastic pollution worsens despite efforts to address the problem," 17 June 2019 That’s allowed them to work with more community members, and build their homeless outreach program and recovery access program for people with alcohol or drug dependency, Sipes said. Mara H. Gottfried, Twin Cities, "2 more mental health workers to be embedded with St. Paul police," 20 Aug. 2019 Our dietary rhythms had been shaped by the nation's growing dependency on screens as irresistible portals of entertainment. Jason Parham, WIRED, "In Praise of Euphoria, the Perfect Anti-Binge TV Show," 6 Aug. 2019 Yet due to the stigma around mental illness as well as the negative side effects, cost, and dependency risk of medication, only 36 percent of those struggling with anxiety take advantage of the resources available. Sponsored Content With Pure Farmaceuticals, Houston Chronicle, "6 Natural Ways to Treat Anxiety," 29 July 2019

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

1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for dependency

Last Updated

11 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for dependency

The first known use of dependency was in 1594

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More Definitions for dependency



English Language Learners Definition of dependency

: the quality of being dependent
: an area that is controlled by a country but that is not formally a part of it


de·​pen·​den·​cy | \ -dən-sē How to pronounce dependency (audio) \
plural dependencies

Medical Definition of dependency

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Comments on dependency

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


to make a temporary encampment

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