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

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Synonyms for depend


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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 Prices depend on how many areas of the face are being treated and how much product is needed. Washington Post, "Why young people are using preventive Botox, and what they need to know," 6 May 2021 And soon, whole new rituals were born, from those that rely on technology — Zoom cocktail hour, anyone? — to others, like peaceful walks in the woods, that depend on nature. Ian Kerner, CNN, "Our lives are changing, again, and so must our rituals that give it meaning," 6 May 2021 In the analysis above, none of the forces depend on the speed of the treadmill. Rhett Allain, Wired, "How to Win a Hot Wheels Derby on a Moving Treadmill," 29 Apr. 2021 Our community and students depend on strong, vibrant public schools. oregonlive, "Julia Brim-Edwards’s full response to The Oregonian/OregonLive’s Portland school board candidate questionnaire," 28 Apr. 2021 After all, Tesla’s profits depend too much on the sale of regulatory credits and bitcoin for that. Peter Cohan, Forbes, "Tesla Revenue Jumps 74% As CEO Elon Musk Prepares To Host SNL," 27 Apr. 2021 Both plans depend on $1 billion in federal stimulus and spend $726 million on fish culvert repairs but widely differ on amounts allocated to public transit and road projects. Tim Gruver, Washington Examiner, "Washington Democrats make a U-turn on multi-billion transportation deal as talks falter," 26 Apr. 2021 Because of a lack of nursing staff, Iraqi hospitals, even in Covid-19 wards, depend on relatives to help look after patients. New York Times, "Fire at Baghdad Hospital Packed With Covid Patients Kills at Least 82," 25 Apr. 2021 With most non-crime stories, journalists depend on multiple sources to get at the truth of things. cleveland, "The evolution of how we report crime, and have you ever heard of a “carjacker-involved shooting?” Letter from the Editor," 24 Apr. 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for depend

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for depend

Last Updated

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Depend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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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.

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