or de·pend·ance

[dih-pen-duh ns]


the state of relying on or needing someone or something for aid, support, or the like.
reliance; confidence; trust: Her complete reliability earned her our dependence.
an object of reliance or trust.
the state of being conditional or contingent on something, as through a natural or logical sequence: the dependence of an effect upon a cause.
the state of being psychologically or physiologically dependent on a drug after a prolonged period of use.
subordination or subjection: the dependence of Martinique upon France.

Origin of dependence

1400–50; late Middle English dependaunce < Old French dependance, equivalent to depend(re) (see depend) + -ance -ence
Related formsnon·de·pend·ance, nounnon·de·pend·ence, nouno·ver·de·pend·ence, nounpre·de·pend·ence, nounself-de·pend·ence, nounsem·i·de·pend·ence, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dependence

Contemporary Examples of dependence

Historical Examples of dependence

  • Consider what you are about—this work of yours is the only dependence we have in the world.

  • All my dependence, all my hopes, are in your mother's favour.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • The greater her disappointment from them, the greater must be her dependence on me.

    Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • His dependence for that must be founded in the doctrine of the other preacher.


    James Anthony Froude

  • It was fortunate for the country, that this was their dependence.

    Chronicles of Border Warfare

    Alexander Scott Withers

British Dictionary definitions for dependence


sometimes US dependance


the state or fact of being dependent, esp for support or help
reliance; trust; confidence
rare an object or person relied upon
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for dependence

early 15c., from Middle French dépendance, from dependre (see depend). Originally also dependance (the earlier form), depending whether the writer had French or Latin foremost in mind; the Latin form gradually predominated and after c.1800 dependance is rare. As an adjective from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

dependence in Medicine




The state of being dependent, as for support.
Subordination to someone or something needed or greatly desired.
A compulsive or chronic need; an addiction.
Related formsde•penden•cy n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.