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

With India's demand for energy set to double over the next decade because of a rapidly growing economy and population, shedding its coal dependency is a monumental challenge. Nell Lewis And John Defterios, CNN, "Can India kick its coal addiction?," 11 July 2019 But the show continues to receive criticism over what’s perceived as racial stereotyping and one-dimensional treatment of its Vietnamese heroine, Kim; her dependency on the white American G.I., Chris; and other issues. San Diego Union-Tribune, "For San Diego-raised actor Jackie Nguyen, ‘Miss Saigon’ has been a major part of her art and life," 30 June 2019 Seeing China as its new dependency, Moscow sent thousands of Soviet engineers and workers and trainloads of manufacturing equipment during the 1950s. Yaroslav Trofimov, WSJ, "The New Beijing-Moscow Axis," 1 Feb. 2019 There are lots of reasons for the new Greek realpolitik, besides learning from the vulnerability of its past dependencies. Victor Davis Hanson, The Mercury News, "Hanson: Greece finds new footing as a player on the world stage," 6 June 2019 Apple is considered one of the most vulnerable U.S. companies to the rising tensions because of its sizable China business and dependency on the market for the assembly of iPhones, iPads and Macs. Yoko Kubota, WSJ, "Apple Pushes Out Software Update to Avoid China iPhone Ban," 19 Dec. 2018 The fresh approach offers a tire that changes the shape of where the rubber meets the road to improve load dependency. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "Gaining Speed: A History of the Indy 500 Racing Tire," 24 May 2019 The men are heavy drinkers, while Mary, newly released from a sanitarium, is fighting a dependency on morphine. New York Times, "Review: Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville Lead a Hard-Run ‘Long Day’s Journey’," 13 May 2018 The Seattle Times continues its focus on the root causes of homelessness, including behavioral health care, drug dependency, criminal justice and economic instability. Allegra Abramo, The Seattle Times, "Youth often become homeless just after leaving juvenile detention. Can Washington state really stop it?," 29 Mar. 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

17 Jul 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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