early 15c., dependaunce, "consequence, result, relation of a conclusion to a premise or an effect to a cause," from Old French dépendance (from dependre; see depend) and from Medieval Latin dependentia. Originally also dependance (which is the older of the two modern spellings), depending whether the writer had French or Latin foremost in mind; the Latin form gradually predominated, and after c. 1800 the spelling dependance is rare. For discussion, see dependant (n.).
From mid-15c. as "state of deriving existence, support, or direction from another." From 1620s as "reliance, confidence, trust." Literal meaning "fact of hanging from something" (1690s) was rare and is obsolete.