In British English:
- Dependent means reliant on.
- A dependant is a person (usually a child or a spouse).
Dependent and DependantFor English speakers outside America, there is often confusion over the words dependent and dependant. (Americans do not need to recognize the difference between these two words. See "Hot Tip" on the right.)
DependantA dependant is a person who is dependent on someone else. (For example, a child is dependent on its parents. Therefore, a child is a dependant of its parents.)
- 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.)
DependentThe word dependent is an adjective meaning contingent on, relying on, supported by or addicted to. The word dependant refers to a person and is a noun.
- I am dependent on the weather for a safe crossing. (reliant on the weather)
Select the correct version:
IN AMERICAN ENGLISH, DEPENDENT IS BOTH ADJECTIVE AND NOUN
- Two of my dependents became dependent on heroin. (should be ...my dependants...)
- Two of my dependents became dependent on heroin.