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

intransitive verb

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

Example Sentences

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 Garland said that allowing the merger would significantly harm consumers, particularly those who depend on the low fares available on Spirit. Chris Isidore, CNN, 7 Mar. 2023 For example, startups that depend on consumer sentiment and discretionary spending are likely to be harder hit in market downturns than those offering essential goods and services. Jenny Rooke, Fortune, 3 Mar. 2023 That is, three quarters of the arms market is supplied by the U.S. or countries that depend on it for their security. Jonathan D. Caverley, WSJ, 2 Mar. 2023 On an analyst call, Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei addressed the impact of struggles for regional sport networks and the impact on Major League Baseball teams, which depend on local TV rights for a large share of revenues. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 Mar. 2023 But the uninsured and those with skimpy health insurance coverage who depend on insulin might be the biggest beneficiaries, said Antonio Ciaccia, CEO of 46brooklyn Research, a nonprofit that researches drug pricing. Ken Alltucker, USA TODAY, 1 Mar. 2023 Markey said that Musk's decision last year to dismiss Twitter’s accessibility team and the recent decision to charge for access to Twitter’s application programming interface eliminated features that many users depend on. Ashley Belanger, Ars Technica, 27 Feb. 2023 Members of the genus are mycoheterotrophic monocot plants that depend on fungi for nutrition and the trees that sustain those fungi. Melissa Breyer, Treehugger, 27 Feb. 2023 Prelogar also noted that a large part of the federal budget consists of mandatory spending for authorized programs like Social Security and Medicare which do not depend an annual appropriation. Los Angeles Times, 27 Feb. 2023 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near depend

Cite this Entry

“Depend.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


de·​pend di-ˈpend How to pronounce depend (audio)
: to be determined by or based on
success of the picnic will depend on the weather
: trust entry 2 sense 1a, rely
a person you can depend on
: to rely for support
children depend on their parents
: to hang down
a vine depending from a tree

Middle English dependen "to exist or result from some other condition," from early French dependre (same meaning), derived from Latin dependēre "to hang down, hang from," from de- "from, down" and pendēre "to hang" — related to pendulum, perpendicular

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