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These are two words that have baffled me for long. Dependency is given as 'excessive dependence' in Chambers, but I would love to know how the spoken usage is. My guess is dependency has a political touch to it. In addition, there is an independency as well in the dictionaries, though it does not sound popular.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I think "dependence" and "dependency" are like "competence" and "competency". Both are nouns. Yet, "dependence" emphasizes the quality of being dependent. So, it may also be abstract. Whereas, "dependency" focuses on the state of being dependent. It is likely to be concrete.

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'Dependency' is one of those irritating Americanisms that have encroached on the English language in the past few years. It is similar to the other odious word 'overly' where the ending is added to sound 'good' or vaguely 'intellectual'. The correct use of the term 'dependency' is as a noun referring to a country that is dependent, conquered and ruled by a more powerful nation and spoken of as "a dependency of the X Empire". Unfortunately we now have the wholly incorrect expression, "dependency" on drugs, benefits, relations, other people and so on, where we should have "dependence upon etc., et.,". It is this American love of embellishment and tautology that distorts and disrupts a perfectly good language.

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Welcome to English Language & Usage @Lionel. This is not the place to rail against what one group of English-speakers does. It is a living language, and nobody has to ask permission to use a word in a new way. It either catches on, or not. Other people either understand what is intended, or not. For your personal use you can choose any subset of the broader language you wish. And so can other people. It is, after all, their choice, not yours. –  andy256 Jan 19 at 9:20

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