Ask Difference

Dependable vs. Reliable — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on October 5, 2023
Dependable means consistently trustworthy and able to meet obligations, while Reliable implies consistent performance without failure.
Dependable vs. Reliable — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Dependable and Reliable


Key Differences

Dependable often refers to an individual's character, highlighting their trustworthiness and consistency in meeting obligations. Reliable, while also denoting trustworthiness, leans more towards the consistent performance or functioning of something or someone.
When considering machinery, a Dependable machine is one you can count on to meet its responsibilities, like being operational during its designated hours. A Reliable machine, in contrast, consistently performs its function without unexpected breakdowns.
In human relationships, if someone is Dependable, it implies they can be consistently counted on to fulfill their promises or duties. Being Reliable in a relationship means one consistently shows up, supports, and doesn't let the other down.
In professional settings, a Dependable employee is someone who consistently meets deadlines and commitments. A Reliable employee, while similar, consistently delivers quality work and can be trusted to handle tasks without oversight.
While both Dependable and Reliable have overlapping meanings related to trustworthiness and consistency, the nuance lies in their usage; "Dependable" leans towards meeting obligations and "Reliable" towards consistent performance.

Comparison Chart

Primary Focus

Trustworthiness in meeting obligations
Consistent performance


More personal traits
Both personal traits and functionality of objects


Commitments and responsibilities
Predictability without failure


Trustworthy, faithful
Steady, consistent


Emotional trust
Operational consistency

Compare with Definitions


Dependable implies a steadiness in character.
Her dependable nature made her the go-to person for advice.


Reliable denotes trustworthiness in operations or functions.
That old car is still surprisingly reliable.


Dependable means consistently trustworthy.
She is a dependable friend always there in times of need.


Reliable indicates being counted on for consistent outcomes.
She is the most reliable player on the team, always scoring points.


Dependable suggests faithfulness in commitments.
As a dependable team member, she never lets her colleagues down.


Reliable means consistently good in quality or performance.
This brand of laptops is very reliable and rarely malfunctions.


Dependable signifies being counted on in various situations.
In emergencies, he's the most dependable person to call.


Reliable implies a level of steadiness in results.
The research from that institution is always reliable and thorough.


Dependable indicates meeting obligations without fail.
He is always dependable, never missing a deadline.


Reliable suggests predictability without failure.
He is a reliable worker, always delivering on his promises.




Capable of being relied on; dependable
A reliable assistant.
A reliable car.


Able, or easily able to be depended on.
He was a very dependable person.


Yielding the same or compatible results in different clinical experiments or statistical trials.


A reliable person or thing.


Suitable or fit to be relied on; worthy of dependence, reliance or trust; dependable, trustworthy


Worthy of being depended on; trustworthy.


Such that either a sent packet will reach its destination, even if it requires retransmission, or the sender will be told that it didn't


Worthy of reliance or trust;
A reliable source of information
A dependable worker


Something or someone reliable or dependable
The old reliables


Worthy of being depended on;
A dependable worker
An honest working stiff
A reliable source of information
He was true to his word
I would be true for there are those who trust me


Suitable or fit to be relied on; worthy of dependance or reliance; trustworthy.
The best means, and most reliable pledge, of a higher object.
According to General Livingston's humorous account, his own village of Elizabethtown was not much more reliable, being peopled in those agitated times by "unknown, unrecommended strangers, guilty-looking Tories, and very knavish Whigs."


Consistent in performance or behavior;
Dependable in one's habits
A steady-going family man


Worthy of reliance or trust;
A reliable source of information
A dependable worker


Financially sound;
A good investment
A secure investment


Conforming to fact and therefore worthy of belief;
An authentic account by an eyewitness
Reliable information


Worthy of being depended on;
A dependable worker
An honest working stiff
A reliable source of information
He was true to his word
I would be true for there are those who trust me

Common Curiosities

What is the core meaning of Dependable?

Dependable primarily means consistently trustworthy and meeting obligations.

Can a machine be both Dependable and Reliable?

Yes, a machine can be both dependable in its hours of operation and reliable in its consistent performance.

How does Reliable differ in its core meaning?

Reliable centers around consistent performance without failure.

How would you describe a Dependable friend?

A Dependable friend consistently meets commitments, keeps promises, and can be counted on in various situations.

What's a primary synonym for Reliable in terms of machines?

A primary synonym for Reliable, when referring to machines, might be "steady" or "consistent."

Can a person be Reliable but not Dependable?

It's possible; someone might consistently perform tasks well (Reliable) but not always meet personal obligations (Dependable).

Is being Dependable about meeting deadlines?

Yes, being Dependable often includes consistently meeting deadlines and other responsibilities.

Can a fact or data be described as Reliable?

Yes, if data consistently proves to be accurate and trustworthy, it's described as Reliable.

Is Dependable more about emotional trust or functionality?

Dependable leans more towards emotional trust and meeting obligations.

And what about Reliable in terms of emotional trust or functionality?

Reliable can refer to both but often emphasizes functionality and consistent performance.

How does a Reliable tool or system function?

A Reliable tool or system consistently operates without unexpected failures or breakdowns.

Can an inanimate object like a car be described as Dependable?

Yes, if a car consistently meets its expected functions and responsibilities, it can be described as Dependable.

Is it better to be Dependable or Reliable in professional settings?

Both are valuable; being Dependable ensures you meet commitments, while being Reliable ensures consistent quality and performance.

Are Dependable and Reliable interchangeable?

While they have similar meanings, they aren't always interchangeable due to nuanced differences in their implications.

Do Dependable and Reliable have overlapping meanings?

Yes, both words relate to trustworthiness and consistency but have nuanced differences in usage.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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