If BAR depends on FOO – in the sense of “BAR has FOO as a prerequisite” – I can use the term “dependency” for one end of that relationship:

BAR has a dependency on FOO.

What is an equivalent, simple term for the opposite relationship:

FOO is a is-depended-on-by for BAR

I'm seeking a generally-applicable answer, so FOO and BAR are just placeholders for entities.

The noun should work as one of a collection of terms, “FOO is a recommendation for BAR”, “FOO is a suggestion for BAR”.

  • BAR suggests FOO ⇒ FOO is a suggestion from BAR
  • BAR recommends FOO ⇒ FOO is a recommendation from BAR
  • BAR depends on FOO ⇒ FOO is a noun-for-other-end-of-the-dependency-relation from BAR

Note that these terms – “suggests”, “recommends”, “depends” – are not open for me to change. I am looking for the term at the other and of each of those named relations.


  • The hockey rulebook suggests the Pickworth tie breaker ⇒ The Pickworth tie breaker is a suggestion from the hockey rulebook
  • The city guidebook recommends the seven-day rail pass ⇒ The seven-day rail pass is a recommendation from the city guidebook
  • The state budget depends on the federal tax concession ⇒ The federal tax concession is a noun-for-other-end-of-the-dependency-relation from the state budget

What term goes in that place in the dependsis-depended-on relationship?

The answers to ““Employee” is to “employer” as “dependent” is to what?” don't apply, because those are specifically about people (and carry all the baggage of that, e.g. parent–child, sponsorship, etc.) that are not generally applicable.

The answers to “A depends on B, is A dependant, or is B dependant?” address the issue of parts of speech, which is not the subject of this question.

What is a noun which describes the relationship from the depended-on side?

  • 2
    This might be easier to answer if the example sentences used regular words, and were meaningful sentences. The question would also be clearer if FOO (which itself is not part of the question) were left out. Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 3:23
  • 1
    I'm really tempted to say that there is no general term, that the relationship must be known so that an appropriate word can be used.
    – miltonaut
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 4:37
  • I too suspect the answers will be different according to the field of study where you want to apply this. IOW, the discipline is the determining factor in the choice of term. Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 9:11
  • I'd suggest to change "dependency" to "requirement": The state budget requires the federal tax concession ⇒ The federal tax concession is a requirement from the state budget - you may also consider "needs" / "necesity".
    – Theraot
    Commented Apr 23, 2017 at 22:08

5 Answers 5


Prerequisite, defined by Merriam-Webster as

something that is necessary to an end or to the carrying out of a function

partially fits your need:

BAR is a prerequisite for FOO.

This sentence means that in order for FOO to happen/exist, BAR is a condition that must be satisfied. It does not, however, mean that BAR and only BAR will allow FOO to happen/exist.

  • If I understand correctly, “prerequisite” is a synonym of “dependency”. That's not the question. I am seeking a word for the other end of that relationship.
    – bignose
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 4:05
  • 2
    It's not. It's a one-way street that goes in the opposite direction of what it seems like you mean by dependency. If this is not so, then your question is very unclear. Right the business with "Foo" and "Bar" sounds like "Bar" requires "Foo" in order for "Bar" to happen/exist. In that case, "Foo" is a prerequisite for "Bar." I think you need to eliminate the FOO/BAR wording and use relatable, meaningful concepts. Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 5:07
  • Apologies for being unclear. I don't know how to put it clearer: “BAR has a dependency on FOO” means that in order for BAR to happen/exist, FOO is a condition that must be satisfied. So it seems you are presenting a synonym of that.
    – bignose
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 20:31
  • Since this answer was written, OP has actually used the word prerequisite in the question. If "bar has foo as a prerequisite", then foo is a prerequisite of/for bar (rather than the other way round, as in this answer). It's unusual for a clarifying edit to completely reverse a question like that.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 10:02
  • I think part of the hangup might be that role of BAR/FOO got switched in the answer vs. the original question. If BAR depends on FOO, then FOO is a prerequisite for BAR, makes perfect sense to me.
    – Bill B
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 1:36

I think 'independent' is best here. 'Foo is independent of bar, Bar is a dependent on Foo.'

Dependent is a noun as well as a verb, and could work well here. 'Bar is a dependent of Foo.'

Note: in the US, dependent is both an adjective and a verb. In England (until recently) dependent was an adjective and dependant was a noun. Today it is acceptable in both countries to spell the noun without the 'a'.

The suggestion you provided I don't think works "Foo is a dependency of Bar"

Dependency is the relationship between two things. 'The child's dependency on his parents..." The child is not a dependency, The relationship is.

  • I take your point about the role “dependency” plays. I have corrected the question to clarify.
    – bignose
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 4:14
  • Does 'independent' not work? FOO is independent of BAR, but BAR is dependent on FOO.
    – J. Elek
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 4:32
  • 2
    @J.Elek independent is different. It just states that FOO is not dependent on BAR. FOO would still be independent of BAR even if BAR never depended on FOO. Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 8:33

I'm going to go with contribute or contributor.

FOO is a contributor to BAR.

FOO contributes to BAR.

I believe every dependent is reliant upon whatever is contributed in a dependency relationship. Dependents do not supply that need, but a contributor does.

While contribution doesn't necessarily mean the receiver of the contribution is dependent upon the contributor, in a dependent relationship, the contributor is the only one providing what is needed for the relationship to exist.

  • Thanks. The sense of “depended-on” does not fit “contribute”; I have updated the question.
    – bignose
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 4:03

BAR has a dependency on FOO can be denoted by interchanging the positions of FOO & BAR as:

FOO has an impact on BAR.


impact NOUN
2 A marked effect or influence:

‘The introduction of these foreign organisms can have a devastating impact on marine environments.’

The above example could have been:

Marine environments have a dependency on introduction of these foreign organisms.

  • Thanks. The sense of “depended on” does not fit “has an impact”; I have updated the question.
    – bignose
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 4:04

As @miltonaut suggests:

I'm really tempted to say that there is no general term, that the relationship must be known so that an appropriate word can be used.

Thus far it seems this is the correct answer.

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