Difference Between Dependent and Dependant

Main Difference – Dependent vs Dependant 

Dependent and dependant are two words that share the same word origins. Although they look and sound the same, there is a difference between them in terms of grammar. Dependant is a noun and dependent is an adjective. This is the main difference between dependent and dependant. However, there is still some confusion about the usage of these terms since dependent is sometimes used as a variant spelling for dependant, especially in American English. This article will explore the difference between these two terms and clarify this issue of usage.Difference Between Dependent and Dependant - infographic

Dependent – Meaning and Usage

Dependent is an adjective meaning contingent on, relying on, addicted to, and determined by. Look at the following examples to understand the meaning and usage of this word more clearly.

Her plans are dependent on the weather.

He is heavily dependent on drugs.

The organization’s success is dependent on the leadership.

The guardianship of the dependent children will be decided by the law.

The successful project of the mission is dependent on the public response.

It is important to know that dependent is also used as a noun in American English. Here, dependent is also used as a variant spelling of dependant. However, this usage is not very common. Dependent is mostly accepted as an adjective.

Main Difference -Dependent vs Dependant

Her plans are dependent on the weather.

Dependant – Meaning and Usage

Dependant is a noun. Dependant refers to a person who relies on another, especially a family member, for financial support. Until recently, dependant was the only correct spelling used for this noun. However, dependent has come to use as an alternative spelling for dependant. This practice can be mainly observed in American English. Some American dictionaries such as American Heritage dictionary and Merriam-Webster lists both noun and adjective under the entry dependent.

Nevertheless, dependant is still the most commonly accepted noun. Given below are some examples to clarify the meaning and usage of this noun further.  

He is a divorcee with no dependants.

It is difficult for a family with dependants to survive in this economy.

The families and the dependants of the dead soldiers were given compensation.

Two of the dependants were children.

Men with no dependants can volunteer to this mission.

Difference Between Dependent and Dependant

Her mother is a dependant.

Difference Between Dependent and Dependant 

Grammaratical Category

Dependent is an adjective.

Dependant is a noun.


Dependent means determined by or influenced by something or relying on contingent on something.

Dependant refers to people who rely on another, especially for financial support.

American English

Dependent is used as a variant spelling for dependant in American English.

Dependant is not used to replace dependent.


Dependent can be a noun and adjective in American English.

Dependant cannot be used as an adjective.

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About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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