Definition of depend in English:

depend

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1depend on/uponBe controlled or determined by.

    ‘differences in earnings depended on a wide variety of factors’
    • ‘The capacity of North America to pay for its imports on such a scale depended to a considerable degree on its earnings from supplying the plantations of the West Indies.’
    • ‘If we rely on such counsel, if enhancing the national welfare depends on such, we are in for a rough time.’
    • ‘The properties of today's composite materials depend largely on the size and type of ceramic filler particle.’
    • ‘The investment return depends solely on the difference between what you paid and what someone else pays you when you sell.’
    • ‘Control of malaria and anaemia depends largely on passive case detection and appropriate treatment.’
    • ‘The success of a new airport would depend crucially on its ability to attract airlines.’
    • ‘Differences in corrosion performance, however, depend heavily on the severity of the corrosion environment.’
    • ‘Omnivorous species were classified as relying on animal or vegetable food depending on the most important contribution to the diet.’
    • ‘Businesses depend to a significant degree on banking and access to banking services.’
    • ‘Indeed, achieving industrial diversification of African economies depends in large measure on the expansion of trade opportunities.’
    • ‘The rise of self-organization in human systems depends to a large degree on initiative.’
    • ‘Whether bank regulators are accountable depends partly also on the general law.’
    • ‘Whether it will indeed lead to wider disaster depends very much on how the rest of us respond now.’
    • ‘The prognosis primarily depends on the extent of the disease at presentation and the age of the patient.’
    • ‘Corn borer larval survival depends on several factors.’
    • ‘Finally, relations between lords and tenants were rarely controlled by written documents and depended rather on the memory of those involved.’
    • ‘Their survival depended on the continued support of powerful group leaders.’
    • ‘This figure varies between blood banks, depending again on the testing methodologies and tests used in screening.’
    • ‘It is very evident that the rigour with which merger control is enforced depends in part on the agenda of the Minister.’
    • ‘The things on which our lives depend are ones that we cannot understand or control.’
    be contingent on, be conditional on, be dependent on, turn on, pivot on, hinge on, hang on, rest on, be based on, rely on
    View synonyms
  • 2depend on/uponBe able to trust; rely on.

    ‘we can depend on her to deliver a quality product’
    • ‘It's about a set of strangers that meet in a post-apocalyptic future and learn to trust and depend on each other.’
    • ‘We should be able to depend on each other to help us through everything, so it's very important.’
    • ‘Everyone knows the difference between a friend you can rely on and a friend you depend on.’
    • ‘Your child wants you to stay in control while they are out of control, so they can rely and depend on you.’
    • ‘Those who are ground down by economic circumstances ought also to be able to depend on the help of others.’
    • ‘Instead of depending on medication, I rely on exercise to keep my body healthy.’
    • ‘He was very capable-but this little girl, whom everyone depended upon - depended on him.’
    • ‘As the months sped by, Jenny grew to rely and depend on Sammy more than ever before.’
    • ‘And that was partially why he'd trusted her so much, believed in and depended on her so much.’
    • ‘Gillard had few friends, looked up to and trusted Preston, depended on him, drank to excess, itinerant, living in shelters and hostels.’
    have faith in, place one's trust in, put one's trust in, have confidence in, have every confidence in, believe in, pin one's faith on, pin one's hopes on
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Need for financial or other support.
      ‘a town which had depended heavily upon the wool industry’
      • ‘The success of the fund-raising evening will depend on the support of the public.’
      • ‘The Irish Heart Foundation is a voluntary organisation and depends on the support of the people.’
      • ‘He depended on financial support from a variety of friends who pitied him.’
      • ‘The continued success of the playschool depends on the active support of all parents.’
      • ‘Small enterprises depend on community financial support to move from small to medium size.’
      • ‘Continuation of the community service depends on your continued support.’
      • ‘This excellent facility very much depends on public support, so please give generously.’
      • ‘The program's success depends on the amount of support from local residents.’
      • ‘As tuition and fees have increased, students have depended more on outside earnings to fund their education.’
      • ‘The success of the parish draw depends on the support of the community.’
      • ‘The problem was that in a community where hunters depended on each other's support in times of difficulty, the man who shot dogs would soon find himself isolated.’
      • ‘Matisse wrote letters to Amelie on a nearly daily basis, and depended on her support in ways that his contemporaries found fascinating and even slightly amusing.’
      • ‘This meals-on-wheels and other services depend on financial support from the public.’
      • ‘The success of the program depends on the community support and the willingness of employers to take on clients.’
      • ‘The police and army, on which the regime depends for support, have also been badly affected.’
      • ‘As we depend on the support of the public to raise funds we will be delighted to see as many people as possible on the night.’
      • ‘The media have gone from depending upon subscribers to depending upon advertisers for financial support.’
      • ‘She has not depended on the Respondent for financial support other than for child support, which he has always paid.’
      rely on, place reliance on, lean on, cling to, be supported by, be sustained by, be unable to manage without
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 Be grammatically dependent on.
      • ‘An adjective can depend on a noun, but can it also depend on another adjective?’
      • ‘Draw dependency diagrams for the following examples; make sure you decide for every preposition whether it depends on a noun or a verb.’
      • ‘Subordinate clauses depend on the main clause for their meanings.’
      • ‘Little did they think that the time would come in my life when I would depend upon being able to talk to earn a living for the family.’
  • 3archaic, literary Hang down.

    ‘his tongue depended from open jaws’
    • ‘The number of ribs that may depend from each panel is not critical to this invention.’
    • ‘Each of these portions has slots formed therein and tongues which depend from each slot.’
    hang, hang down, droop, sag, swing, sway, wave, trail, stream
    View synonyms

Usage

In informal use, it is quite common for the on to be dropped in sentences such as it all depends how you look at it (rather than it all depends on how you look at it), but in well-formed written English the on should be retained

Phrases

  • depending on

    • According to.

      ‘makes 8–10 burgers (depending on size)’
      • ‘We have a few options for times, depending on how we're getting there, and how late people want to stay up.’
      • ‘The Grading system awards beauty salons with 3, 4 or 5 stars, depending on how high standards and facilities are within the clinic.’
      • ‘Tickets are $19.95 - $44.95 depending on how much food you'll need.’
      • ‘Sometime around 2030 or so, depending on whose calculations you trust, things start to become very serious.’
      • ‘However, the Prison Service said, depending on how psychiatric illness is defined, the estimate of sufferers is closer to 10%.’
      • ‘Dr Killen enjoys the variety of her work, but not the workload, which ranges from 50 to 80 hours a week, depending on how often she's called to the hospital after hours.’
      • ‘I usually add a dash of my favorite hot sauce but depending on how spicy your chili powder is and how spicy you want it, you can skip this.’
      • ‘People were asked to fill out the form with their name and address and specify the amount donated - €10 or multiples depending on how many bricks one wanted to buy.’
      • ‘In addition, different analysts have drawn quite different conclusions from the same body of data about trends in poverty, depending on how the poverty line is estimated.’
      • ‘But with the right turn restrictions programme, the congestion could, depending on how it is implemented, be eased up thereby leading to an improved traffic flow.’
  • it (or that)(all) depends

    • Used to express uncertainty in answering a question.

      ‘How many people use each screen? It all depends’
      • ‘Well, as in so many things, that depends on how you define ‘this country’.’
      • ‘Hunt said the answer to that depends on how long ago the drug use took place.’
      • ‘That has to be a question of opinion rather than fact, so it depends on what you make of the evidence.’
      • ‘Wrong question, since it depends on the definition of life, and so both answers are possible.’
      • ‘The answer to that is it depends how well you get on with your teacher!’
      • ‘The short answer to your question is that it depends on what sort of production facilities you currently have.’
      • ‘The answer of course lies in the fact that it depends what you are looking for!’
      • ‘Perhaps the answer is that both answers are right, but it all depends on which way you want to look at it.’
      • ‘The answer is that it depends on what level of specificity you have in mind.’
      • ‘What you know about it depends on the questions you ask and the methods you use.’

Origin

Late Middle English (in depend (sense 3); also in the sense ‘wait or be in suspense’): from Old French dependre, from Latin dependere, from de- ‘down’ + pendere ‘hang’.

Pronunciation

depend

/dɪˈpɛnd/