Reliable vs Dependable: Difference and Comparison

English is a fantastic language, and it has various sets of words with different meanings that are closely related, creating confusion in the language.


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One such pair of words is Reliable and Dependable. People get confused about applying the two words in various situations. While some believe they are supplementary to each other, it is not.

Reliable and Dependable are words that describe complementary character traits. It means a reliable person can be depended on and a dependable person can be relied on.

From far, there seems to be no difference between the two, and the dictionary says that they are synonyms. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Reliable refers to something that can be trusted to perform consistently and accurately, while dependable refers to someone who can be relied upon to fulfil their obligations consistently.
  2. A reliable product consistently performs its intended function, while a dependable person can be counted on to deliver results consistently.
  3. Reliability is often used to describe machines or processes, while dependability is used to describe people or relationships.

Reliable vs Dependable

The difference between Reliable and Dependable is that dependable is used as an adjective to describe a characteristic of a person or a relationship. In contrast, Reliable is used with items like mechanical or engineering aspects or machinery generally. The two have no marked contrast, but their usage is a bit different.

Reliable vs Dependable

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonReliableDependable
MeaningA reliable is a person that can be trusted.If a machine is dependable, it is fully tried and tested for its ability to become a dependable asset. 
In workIf a machine is reliable, it means a part of it is reliable and contributes to the dependable whole machinery.If a machine is dependable, it means the machine is fully tried and tested for its ability to become a dependable asset. 
In a communityThe requirements of a community might be served by reliable individuals who have the skill that can be relied on to offer when the community is in need.The requirements of a community are served by dependable individuals who commit to standing by their system and community and be trusted in doing so.
People in leadershipLeaders offer a single skill or quality to rely on during stressful situations.People in leadership roles that a country depends on a whole in times of stressful conditions.
Common applicationReliable is an adjective mostly used to address a piece of machinery or an engineering aspect.Dependable is an adjective mostly used to address the behaviour of a person or a relationship.

What is Reliable?

Reliable is an adjective that is the indication of consistent work and competent behaviour.

When they operate reliably, the parts of a machine are known as reliable and can be counted on to provide good results. It is said that computers will do stuff cheaper and faster.

To do their job, reliable computers can be relied on. It is considered reliable to have longevity and mechanical strength associated with anything made to last.

Reliable is a term used to describe:

  1. Skilled machinery part or well-made machinery.
  2. The words of an intelligent person can be used as a witness for something important.
  3. A skilled member of a group does the task.
  4. A source that can be used to take reference from for writing an article.

What is Dependable?

Dependable is an adjective that describes which are trustworthy and can be relied on.

Characteristics and attributes symbolize the value of a particular person or an item that has earned a dependable title.

A dependable individual is someone you can count on in any situation of a higher management position of politics or governance and expect stability and loyalty.

For example, in history, Abraham Lincoln was a dependable and motivational personality.

Dependable is a term used to describe:

  1. People who can be called on for help and have trustworthy attributes.
  2. A machine which has reliable parts makes it a sound machine as a whole to give dependable services.
  3. A world leader who takes a nation forward and works for the betterment of the world. Hence, the community starts depending on this person’s choices, judgments, and actions.

Main Differences Between Reliable and Dependable

  1. Reliable is the term used to describe a thing that can be trusted, whereas Dependable describes an item on which one can depend.
  2. Any company or individual rely on some part of the machinery, which makes the whole machinery dependable. It means a part of the machinery is reliable, and the machine is dependable if it has all reliable parts.
  3. Communities depend on individuals to improve the world by relying on their skills, thought processes, and action sequences.
  4. In the workplace, people rely on the skill of a group member but depend on the whole team. A member of the team is reliable to make the whole team dependable. As in the case of machinery, here, too, team members act as part of a bigger system: A team.
  5. Reliable is an adjective mainly used in the fields of technology and engineering to indicate the ability of an appliance. In contrast, Dependable is the adjective used to describe an individual or a relationship. In general usage, reliable is more related to mechanics and dependable is more related to individuals, feelings, or relationships.
Difference Between Reliable and Dependable
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