de·pen·den·cy | \ -dən(t)-sē \
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

The oil market’s increased dependency on US crude exports poses its own risks, because Gulf Coast ports can be shut down by hurricanes in summer and fall. Stanley Reed,, "Producers promised more oil — so why are prices rising?," 4 July 2018 And most forms of cannabis have a low potential for dependency—much lower than alcohol, for instance. The Economist, "High and mighty," 21 June 2018 The city of Seattle funds about seven out every eight emergency-shelter beds countywide, while King County operates the mental-health and chemical-dependency systems, as well as the county jail. Vernal Coleman, The Seattle Times, "In King County’s fragmented homelessness system, calls for a change," 23 Apr. 2018 Anchorage property crime investigators say small rings of thieves have been using the cars in connection with drug dependency and drug dealing. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage car thieves are targeting Subarus. Case in point: His was stolen twice in one week.," 5 July 2018 For many months while at Leeds General Infirmary's high-dependency unit, the 16-month-year-old baby was given powerful painkillers after painful skin grafts. Fox News, "Toddler who lost arms, legs to meningitis heads home," 1 June 2018 Souto is currently at the juvenile courthouse handling cases including dependency and delinquency. Gal Tziperman Lotan,, "Circuit judge races are set in Central Florida — here's a look at the candidates," 5 May 2018 This is not triumphalism but quite the opposite—a refusal to stay sunk in fear and trouble, mourning and misery, servitude and dependency. Ruth R. Wisse, WSJ, "To Appreciate Freedom, Remember Slavery," 29 Mar. 2018 After abundance and apathy: dependency and bondage. Sheelah Kolhatkar, The New Yorker, "The State of Nature," 26 Dec. 2016

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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Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

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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 \
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).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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