v. de·pend·ed, de·pend·ing, de·pends
1. To rely, especially for support or maintenance: Children must depend on their parents.
2. To place trust or confidence: You can depend on his honesty. See Synonyms at rely.
3. To be determined, influenced, or contingent: a grade depending on the results of the final exam.
4. To have a dependence: began to depend more and more on drugs.
5. Archaic To hang down: "And ever-living Lamps depend in Rows" (Alexander Pope).
To be determined by, be influenced by, or be contingent on: "What happened?" "It depends who you ask."
[Middle English dependen, to hang down, from Old French dependre, from Latin dēpendēre : dē-, de- + pendēre, to hang; see (s)pen- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: In standard writing, depend is followed by on or upon when indicating condition or contingency, as in It depends on who is in charge. Omission of the preposition is typical of casual speech.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.