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See also: dépend and depënd



Borrowing from Middle French dependre, from de- + pendre (to hang), or from Latin dependeō.



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.
    We would like to go skiing, but it depends on the amount of snow.
    • 1948, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, written by John Hustonpublisher=:
      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. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) To serve; to attend; to act as a dependent or retainer.
  4. (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.
  5. (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."



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