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Related to psychological dependence: physiological dependence


also de·pen·dance  (dĭ-pĕn′dəns)
a. The state of being determined, influenced, or controlled by something else: the economy's dependence on oil.
b. The state of being dependent on another for financial support.
2. The condition of being dependent on a substance such as a drug or on a given behavior: alcohol dependence; gambling dependence.
3. Archaic Trust; reliance.


(dɪˈpɛndəns) or


1. the state or fact of being dependent, esp for support or help
2. reliance; trust; confidence
3. rare an object or person relied upon


(dɪˈpɛn dəns)

1. the state of relying on or needing someone or something for aid, support, or the like.
2. reliance; trust.
3. the state of being conditional or contingent on something: the dependence of an effect upon a cause.
4. the state of being psychologically or physiologically dependent on a drug or alcohol.
5. subordination or subjection.
Sometimes, de•pend′ance.
[1400–50; < Old French]



close as the bark to the tree See FRIENDSHIP.

hang on [someone’s] sleeve To be completely dependent on someone for support or assistance; to rely on someone else’s judgment. The allusion is perhaps to children hanging onto their mother’s sleeve. This expression, now obsolete, dates from at least 1548. It appears in Samuel Hieron’s Works (1607):

You shall see … a third hanging upon some lawyer’s sleeve, to plot and devise how to perpetuate his estate.

hooked Addicted; entangled in a difficult situation; under someone else’s power or influence; devoted to or obsessed by a person, occupation, or other matter. This expression refers to the plight of a fish that has been captured, or hooked, by a fisherman, a fate which usually leads to the animal’s destruction. Hooked or the related on the hook often describes a person who is addicted to or dependent on drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or some other potentially harmful habit; but it is used equally often in reference to one’s consuming hobby or interest.

“Poor Caudle!” he said to himself; “he’s hooked, and he’ll never get himself off the hook again.” (Anthony Trollope, The Small House At Arlington, 1864)

See also get someone off the hook, RESCUE.

meal ticket One’s main source of income; a person, skill, or talent upon which one depends for his livelihood. This familiar expression originally referred to a prize fighter who was virtually the breadwinner for his agent and manager. Today, the phrase is usually used in reference to a working spouse.

He was her meal-ticket. Why should she want him sent to the pen? (H. Howard, Nice Day for a Funeral, 1972)

on a string Dependent, easily manipulated, psychologically or financially tied to another person; unable to stand on one’s own two feet. This expression dates from the 1500s although it is antedated by use of the single word string referring to a leash or other inhibiting tie or connection.

Make him put his slippers on, And be sure his boots are gone, And you’ve got him on a string, you see. (Circus Girl, 1897)

Currently on a string is often heard in the context of relationships where one person is subject to the whims of another.

on [someone’s] coattails Dependent upon or as a consequence of another’s effort. The image is of a swallow-tailed coat, whose tapered ends naturally follow its body as sort of secondary appendages. The term is usually derogatory, implying a lack of ability to fare for one-self or to gain an undeserved benefit. Its most frequent use, as well as its origin, is probably political: to ride in on someone’s coattails means to be carried into office because a popular candidate led the ticket. Abraham Lincoln used the term in 1848:

Has he no acquaintance with the ample military coat tail of General Jackson? Does he not know that his own party have run the last five Presidential races on that coat tail? (Congressional Globe)

tied to [someone’s] apron strings Completely under someone’s thumb, totally dominated by or dependent on another person; usually used in reference to a husband or son’s relationship with his wife or mother, respectively. The allusion is probably to the way small children cling to their mother’s skirts for support and protection. Thomas Babington Macaulay used the expression in The History of England from the Accession of James II (1849):

He could not submit to be tied to the apron strings even of the best of wives.

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.dependence - the state of relying on or being controlled by someone or something elsedependence - the state of relying on or being controlled by someone or something else
state - the way something is with respect to its main attributes; "the current state of knowledge"; "his state of health"; "in a weak financial state"
helplessness - the state of needing help from something
reliance - the state of relying on something
subordination - the state of being subordinate to something
contingency - the state of being contingent on something
2.dependence - being abnormally tolerant to and dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming (especially alcohol or narcotic drugs)dependence - being abnormally tolerant to and dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming (especially alcohol or narcotic drugs)
narcotic - a drug that produces numbness or stupor; often taken for pleasure or to reduce pain; extensive use can lead to addiction
physical condition, physiological condition, physiological state - the condition or state of the body or bodily functions
drug addiction, white plague - an addiction to a drug (especially a narcotic drug)


1. reliance, trust, hope, confidence, belief, faith, expectation, assurance the city's traditional dependence on tourism
2. overreliance, need, addiction, reliance, attachment Some doctors regard drug dependence as a psychological disorder.
3. helplessness, weakness, vulnerability the total dependence of her infirm husband


also dependance
Absolute certainty in the trustworthiness of another:


[dɪˈpendəns] Ndependencia f (on de) she wants to be cured of her dependence on tranquillizersquiere curarse de su dependencia de los tranquilizantes
his dependence on her for financial supportsu dependencia económica de ella
dependence on drugs; drug dependencedrogodependencia f (frm)


[dɪˈpɛndəns] n
(= addiction) (on drugs, alcohol)dépendance f
drug dependence → dépendance à la drogue
(= reliance) dependence on sth → dépendance envers qch
dependence on sb → dépendance à l'égard de qn


nAbhängigkeit f(on, upon von); drug/alcohol dependenceDrogen-/Alkoholabhängigkeit f


[dɪˈpɛndəns] n dependence (on)dipendenza (da)


n. dependencia, subordinación;
___ producing drugsdrogas adictivas, de dependencia.


n dependencia, hábito; nicotine — dependencia a la nicotina, hábito tabáquico
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