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


hang, hinge, ride, turn

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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

Water districts that depend on the federal Central Valley Project have been negotiating with state regulatory agencies to obtain greater pumping flexibility in the delta. Los Angeles Times, "In defying Newsom, she tried to protect California from Trump — and showed how legislating should work," 16 Sep. 2019 But for Hong Kong companies that depend on access to the Chinese market for their bottom line, things aren’t quite so simple. Amy Gunia / Hong Kong, Time, "In Hong Kong, Employees Hide Their Political Leanings as Beijing Forces Companies to Take Sides," 16 Sep. 2019 Improving Malawians’ lot, therefore, depends on making farming more productive or developing better ways of making a living. The Economist, "Climate change is making it harder to reduce poverty in Malawi," 16 Sep. 2019 Normal water levels mean better access and enjoyment of the lake, and more business for those that depend on the summer season. Katrina Pross, Twin Cities, "White Bear Lake flourishes this summer with high water levels, but impending lawsuit looms," 14 Sep. 2019 The decline is in large part due to a lack of milkweed, a plant that monarchs depend on but that is being increasingly eradicated by modern agriculture. Shawn Regan, National Review, "The New Endangered-Species Regulations Are Good for Species," 12 Sep. 2019 The cup must interact with the environment in a way that depends on position rather than, say, momentum. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Twist on ‘survival of the fittest’ could explain how reality emerges from the quantum haze," 12 Sep. 2019 Eng, Morrissey and their colleagues suggest this exposure to neonicotinoids may be directly contributing to population declines in bird species that depend on agricultural habitat since the 1960s. Jim Daley, Scientific American, "Migrating Birds May Be Collateral Damage for a Popular Pesticide," 12 Sep. 2019 But the proposal also threatens to antagonize unions and voters in areas that depend on oil and gas for jobs. Nicholas Riccardi, The Denver Post, "Democrats step on shaky political ground with fracking bans," 10 Sep. 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.

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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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Statistics for depend

Last Updated

7 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for depend

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

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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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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).


fear of the number 13

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