So I have A and B. B depends on A, which is why B is a dependent entity or a dependant. In this case what do I call the A entity? A defining entity? What is the right way to express that it is something which something else depends on?
I apologize for not mentioning the lack of any specific context which people are asking about. Well, it is so very abstract and there is simply no context defined at all. All we know is that A only exerts some influence over B making it dependent. Let me be even more precise, all we known is that the existence of B doesn't make sense if A doesn't exist.
I cannot accept following alternatives, because they imply some context which we don't have and thus can be misleading:
- provider (A provides something to B), sorry, nothing is being provided
- controller (A controls B), sorry, no controlling is involved
- parent/child relation (A is a parent of B), sorry, no inheritance is involved
There were "precedent" and "antecedent" which imply a cause/outcome relation between things. They are pretty abstract and seem like almost what I was looking for except for the unwanted time substance being involved.
I really like the answer from StoneyB who suggested "governing" or "determining". Out of all I think determining works the best in a very abstract sense of the matter in question.
Also it was brought up that there is a similar question at EL&U: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/36033/if-a-person-depends-upon-you-what-are-you-for-him