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 The Office of Violence Prevention established the interrupters program under the MinneapolUS banner last fall as part of the city’s evolving efforts to reimagine public safety and reduce dependency on traditional policing. Martin Kuz, The Christian Science Monitor, "No badges. No guns. Can violence interrupters help Minneapolis?," 13 Apr. 2021 President Biden also ordered a review of supply chains last month to potentially curtail dependency on China and other offshore manufacturers. Rose Celestin, Forbes, "Nike Misses Revenue Mark As Covid-19 Bottlenecks Continue To Plague Retail Brands," 19 Mar. 2021 The result is that both nations are racing to secure their own supply chains and to reduce dependency on each other — a reversal of 40 years of economic integration. New York Times, "As Biden and Xi Begin a Careful Dance, a New American Policy Takes Shape," 18 Mar. 2021 Part of the argument for securing more domestic production is to reduce dependency on foreign markets when geopolitical tensions are rising. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "Micron Shows How Chip Making Might Become a National Bloodsport," 18 Mar. 2021 Increasingly, local authorities are instituting policies to decrease dependency on natural gas. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "The Fossil Fuel Fight Isn’t Just in Congress—It’s in Your Kitchen," 10 Mar. 2021 On the economic front, the government is said to be reviewing supply chain dependency on China as part of the upcoming Integrated Review, an attempt to define the government’s national security and foreign policy aims. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "UK-China relations imploded in 2020—and things could get worse," 23 Dec. 2020 But gifts that make a child feel accepted externally and maybe not internally can be problematic—and can build dependency on materialism. Popular Science, "Can’t shower your kids with gifts this year? That might be for the best.," 22 Dec. 2020 The policies could give the state spending flexibility and reduce dependency on the program. Nyamekye Daniel, Washington Examiner, "Medicaid expansion could lead to criminal justice reform in North Carolina, expert says," 7 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for dependency

Time Traveler

The first known use of dependency was in 1594

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Last Updated

30 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dependency.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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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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