Confusing words: Dependent and Dependant

Published by: sam re on 15th Nov 2014 | View all blogs by sam re

Dependent and Dependant

In American English dependent is both adjective and noun, Americans do not need to recognize the difference between these two words.  

Example: Two of my dependents became dependent on heroin.

For English speakers outside America, there is often confusion over the words dependent and dependant.


The word dependant refers to a person and is a noun. A dependant is a person who is dependent on someone else.

Example: All embassy staff and their dependants must be at the airport by 6 o'clock.
(In this example, the word dependants means spouses and children.)


The word dependent is an adjective meaning relying on, supported by or addicted to.

Example: I am dependent on the weather for a safe crossing.
(reliant on the weather)



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