Possible Duplicate:
A depends on B, is A dependant, or is B dependant?
“Employee” is to “employer” as “dependent” is to what?

A and B are two persons. When A is a dependent of B, what of A is B?

  • 1
    I suspect you mean dependant, don’t you? That’s the noun. Dependent is an adjective.
    – tchrist
    Commented Aug 5, 2012 at 22:43
  • 1
    Possible duplicates: english.stackexchange.com/q/12547/18655; english.stackexchange.com/q/67365/18655
    – JLG
    Commented Aug 5, 2012 at 22:44
  • Hi @Tim--I edited out the "Thanks!" at the end of your question because it doesn't add a lot of context. For more information, please see this post.
    – user10893
    Commented Aug 5, 2012 at 22:45
  • 1
    @Tim They’ve used the wrong word, then. Pity, that.
    – tchrist
    Commented Aug 5, 2012 at 22:48
  • 1
    @tchrist OED seems to be giving British spelling, as one might expect. IRS is using American spelling, also as one might expect. grammarist.com/spelling/dependant-dependent
    – MetaEd
    Commented Aug 6, 2012 at 4:26

2 Answers 2


Perhaps the term provider or the phrase principal provider conveys the relationship.

SUPPLEMENT: I think JLG is right that this is a duplicate (and others have suggested what I propose).


Depending on the circumstance, if A is the dependant of B, then B may be the guardian of A. As tchris noted, this would apply for a parent-child relationship, but it does not fit when referring to spouses.

  • With children, perhaps, but with spouses? Doesn’t seem quite right.
    – tchrist
    Commented Aug 5, 2012 at 23:15
  • @tchrist - good point. Will qualify my answer.
    – dj18
    Commented Aug 6, 2012 at 0:12

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