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

Because of its unusual level of welfare dependency, the island was one of a handful of U.S. communities granted exemptions to welfare reform laws during the Clinton administration. Wade Graham, Smithsonian, "Why Molokai, With All Its Wonders, Is the Least Developed of Hawai’i’s Islands," 31 Aug. 2019 But his history of chemical dependency can’t be discounted. Globe Staff,, "Patriots can welcome back Josh Gordon, but they shouldn’t rely on him," 19 Aug. 2019 Bird, Lime, and their supporters believe that dockless electric scooters can help reduce car dependency. Amy Martyn, The Verge, "They said you could leave electric scooters anywhere — then the repo men struck back," 24 July 2019 That includes eliminating the stigma of drug dependency, which is the main reason people don’t seek care. Steve Hamm,, "Fentanyl crisis prompt calls for more aggressive treatment and prevention of opioid abuse," 28 June 2019 This kind of financial dependency, and its accompanying fear and disempowerment, still exists today. WSJ, "The Best Financial Advice I Ever Got," 16 June 2019 For Russia, on the other hand, cultivating such dependency is precisely the purpose and the proof of its great-power status. Vance Serchuk, National Review, "Russia’s Middle East Power Play," 12 Sep. 2019 Postsurgical opioid use can lead to long-term dependency in a small but significant percentage of patients, studies have shown, but unused pills can also be a danger. Julie Appleby,, "Study finds international differences in filling opioid prescriptions," 11 Sep. 2019 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

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

9 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


fear of the number 13

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