Skip to main content

Dependent vs Contingent vs Conditional vs Relative

Dependent, contingent, conditional, relative mean having its existence or nature determined by something else.

Something is dependent which cannot exist or come into existence by itself quite without aid or supportc.

What is contingent takes its character from something that already exists or may exist and therefore is limited or qualified by something extraneous or is incapable of existence apart from it.

Something is conditional which depends for its realization, fulfillment, execution, or expression on what may or may not occur or on the performance or observance of certain terms or conditions.

Conditional and contingent are often interchangeable, but the former is preferred when eventualities are in the power of the human will.

Something is relative which cannot be known, considered, or determined apart from its reference to something else and which therefore is affected by the limitations, the instability, or the imperfections of the other thing.