See also: dépend and depënd



From Middle English dependen, from Old French dependre and Latin dependeō, from Latin dē- + pendeō (to hang).


  • IPA(key): /dɪˈpɛnd/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛnd


depend (third-person singular simple present depends, present participle depending, simple past and past participle depended)

  1. (intransitive, followed by on or upon, formerly also by of) To be contingent or conditioned; to have something as a necessary condition; to hinge on.
    We would like to go skiing, but it depends on the amount of snow.
    • 1948, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, written by John Huston:
      Gold don't carry any curse with it. It all depends on whether or not the guy who finds it is the right guy. The way I see it, gold can be as much of a blessing as a curse
  2. (intransitive, followed by on or upon) To trust; to have confidence; to rely.
    we should all be able to depend on the word or assurance of our friends
    we depend on the mailman to come at the usual time.
  3. (now literary) To hang down; to be sustained by being fastened or attached to something above.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick:
      The long rows of teeth on the bulwarks glistened in the moonlight; and like the white ivory tusks of some huge elephant, vast curving icicles depended from the bows.
    • 1982, Paul Fussell, My War:
      Besides, if you worked up to be a cadet officer, you got to wear a Sam Browne belt, from which depended a nifty saber.
  4. (archaic) To be pending; to be undetermined or undecided.
    a cause depending in court
    • 1703, The History Of King William The Third. In III Parts:
      While the Bishops Affair was depending, the King sent orders [...]
    • 1836, Reports of Cases Adjudged in the Court of King's Bench:
      In perjury, the capias, warrant, and affidavit, are good evidence that a cause was depending.
    • 1837, The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe, page 544:
      "A Letter of the King sent to his Proctors at Rome, concerning a Case of his in the said Court depending."

Related termsEdit



  • depend in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911.
  • depend at OneLook Dictionary Search