Dependent Variable

Pronunciation: /dɪˈpɛn dənt ˈvɛər i ə bəl/ Explain

A dependent variable is a variable whose value depends entirely on other variables.[1] In functions, the dependent variable is the output variable. The independent variable's value is the input on which the dependent variable depends.

Graph of f(x)=x^2
Figure 1 - Graph of f(x) = x2.

In figure 1, f(x) = x2, the output variable is f(x). One can often tell which is the output variable when it is by itself on one side of the equation.

Cricket Population
Figure 2: Table representing a function.

The table in figure 2 represents a function. The independent variable is year. This is because the year exists independently of the cricket population, and the cricket population is dependent on the year. The cricket population is the dependent variable.


  1. dependent variable. Encyclopedia Britannica. Merriam-Webster. Last Accessed 8/6/2018. variable.
  2. Bettinger, Alvin K. and Englund, John A.. Algebra and Trigonometry. pp 53-54. International Textbook Company. January 1963. Last Accessed 8/6/2018. Buy the book
  3. Long, Edith and Breknke, W. C.. Algebra, First Course. pg 208. The Century Co.. 1913. Last Accessed 8/6/2018. Buy the book

More Information

  • McAdams, David E.. Function. All Math Words Encyclopedia. Life is a Story Problem LLC. 1/22/2010.

Cite this article as:

McAdams, David E. Dependent Variable. 7/4/2018. All Math Words Encyclopedia. Life is a Story Problem LLC.

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7/4/2018: Removed broken links, updated license, implemented new markup, implemented new Geogebra protocol. (McAdams, David E.)
7/12/2007: Initial version. (McAdams, David E.)

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