de·​pend | \ di-ˈpend How to pronounce depend (audio) \
depended; depending; depends

Definition of depend

intransitive verb

1 : to be determined, based, or contingent (see contingent entry 1 sense 1) life depends on food the value of Y depends on X
2 : to be pending or undecided matters of greatest moment were depending— John Milton
3a : to place reliance or trust you can depend on me
b : to be dependent especially for financial support Her family depends on her paycheck. still depends on his parents
4 : to hang down a star was depending from his neck— Arnold Bennett

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for depend


hang, hinge, ride, turn

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of depend in a Sentence

whether or not we play baseball will depend on how much rain we get I know I can always depend on you for help when I really need it.

Recent Examples on the Web

Talent ranges from great to amateur, depending on the venue. Hector Saldana,, "Piñata Protest, restaurant musicians celebrated at Talón Fest in San Antonio," 13 June 2019 Since a basketball player’s career depends on the ability to jump and change direction, Achilles injuries can be devastating. Connor Letourneau,, "Kevin Durant injury: Experts analyze how he was cleared, what future holds," 12 June 2019 Now, depending on what the MRI exam reveals, there’s already some speculation Durant could exercise his $31.5 million player option for 2019-20 and rehabilitate his injury with the Warriors. K.c. Johnson,, "Like Derrick Rose before him, Kevin Durant's injury is bigger than basketball: 'An incredible win and a horrible loss'," 11 June 2019 The opening of a new rate case could take more than a year to resolve and end up with APS rates going down — or up — depending on what regulators find. Ryan Randazzo, azcentral, "Arizona Corporation Commission order new trial over APS electricity rates," 11 June 2019 Nordic Store said its Chinese knitters are paid $3 to $5 per hour, depending on their skill and experience. CBS News, "That Iceland wool sweater may have been knit in China," 10 June 2019 Chinese knitters are, according to Nordic Store, paid $3 to $5 per hour, depending on their skill and experience. Washington Post, "Made in China? Iceland’s sweater-knitters are unhappy," 10 June 2019 Many products labeled for children containing a lower concentration of DEET may need to be reapplied, depending on the length of time spent outdoors. Kara Carter, M.d., Houston Chronicle, "The bugs are back in town so know how to avoid them," 10 June 2019 These rules will vary widely depending on the city or county, so do your homework. 5. Sarah Kuta, The Know, "What you need to know about joining a rec league in Colorado," 10 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'depend.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of depend

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for depend

Middle English, from Anglo-French dependre, modification of Latin dependēre, from de- + pendēre to hang — more at pendant

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about depend

Statistics for depend

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for depend

The first known use of depend was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for depend



English Language Learners Definition of depend

informal used in speech in phrases like it depends and that depends to say that the answer to a question will be different in different situations


de·​pend | \ di-ˈpend How to pronounce depend (audio) \
depended; depending

Kids Definition of depend

: to be subject to determination by the situation Are you going to the party? I don't know. It depends.
depend on
1 : to rely for support Children depend on their parents.
2 : to be determined by or based on a person, action, or condition The people had been very proud … that victory or defeat depended on them.— Theodore Taylor, The Cay
3 : trust entry 1 sense 2, rely You can depend on me to get the job done.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on depend

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with depend

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for depend

Spanish Central: Translation of depend

Nglish: Translation of depend for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of depend for Arabic Speakers

Comments on depend

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!