adjective Etymology: Middle English lyable, from Anglo-French *liable, from lier to bind, from Latin ligare — more at ligature Date: 15th century 1. a. obligated according to law or equity ; responsible b. subject to appropriation or attachment 2. a. being in a position to incur — used with to <
liable to a fine
b. exposed or subject to some usually adverse contingency or action <
watch out or you're liable to fall
Synonyms: liable, open, exposed, subject, prone, susceptible, sensitive mean being by nature or through circumstances likely to experience something adverse. liable implies a possibility or probability of incurring something because of position, nature, or particular situation <
liable to get lost
. open stresses a lack of barriers preventing incurrence <
a claim open to question
. exposed suggests lack of protection or powers of resistance against something actually present or threatening <
exposed to infection
. subject implies an openness for any reason to something that must be suffered or undergone <
all reports are subject to review
. prone stresses natural tendency or propensity to incur something <
prone to delay
. susceptible implies conditions existing in one's nature or individual constitution that make incurrence probable <
very susceptible to flattery
. sensitive implies a readiness to respond to or be influenced by forces or stimuli <
unduly sensitive to criticism
. Synonym: see in addition responsible. Usage: Both liable and apt when followed by an infinitive are used nearly interchangeably with likely. Although conflicting advice has been given over the years, most current commentators accept apt when so used. They generally recommend limiting liable to situations having an undesirable outcome, and our evidence shows that in edited writing it is more often so used than not.

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • liable — li·a·ble / lī ə bəl/ adj [ultimately from Old French lier to bind, from Latin ligare] 1: answerable according to law: bound or obligated according to law or equity one is liable as an accomplice to the crime of another W. R. LaFave and A. W.… …   Law dictionary

  • liable — li‧a‧ble [ˈlaɪəbl] adjective [not before a noun] LAW 1. legally responsible for paying something: liable for • The troubled company will be liable for about $52 million in back taxes and penalties. 2. likely to be legally punished or forced to… …   Financial and business terms

  • Liable — Li a*ble (l[imac] [.a]*b l), a. [From F. lier to bind, L. ligare. Cf. {Ally}, v. t., {Ligature}.] 1. Bound or obliged in law or equity; responsible; answerable; as, the surety is liable for the debt of his principal. [1913 Webster] 2. Exposed to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • liable — 1 amenable, answerable, *responsible, accountable Analogous words: obliged, constrained, compelled (see FORCE vb): bound, tied (see TIE vb) Contrasted words: exempt, immune (see corresponding nouns at EXEMPTION): *free, independent 2 …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • liable — ► ADJECTIVE 1) responsible by law; legally answerable. 2) (liable to) subject by law to. 3) (liable to do) likely to do. 4) (liable to) likely to experience (something undesirable). ORIGIN perhaps from French li …   English terms dictionary

  • liable — [lī′ə bəl; ] often, esp. for 3 [, lī′bəl] adj. [prob. via Anglo Fr < OFr lier, to bind < L ligare, to bind (see LIGATURE) + ABLE] 1. legally bound or obligated, as to make good any loss or damage that occurs in a transaction; responsible 2 …   English World dictionary

  • liable — (adj.) mid 15c., bound or obliged by law, probably from Anglo Fr. *liable, from O.Fr. lier to bind, tie up, fasten, tether; bind by obligation, from L. ligare to bind, to tie (see LIGAMENT (Cf. ligament)). With ABLE (Cf. able). General sense of… …   Etymology dictionary

  • liable — [adj1] answerable, responsible accountable, amenable, bound, chargeable, obligated, subject, tied; concept 545 Ant. excusable, freed, irresponsible, unaccountable liable [adj2] open, likely apt, assailable, attackable, beatable, conquerable,… …   New thesaurus

  • liable */*/ — UK [ˈlaɪəb(ə)l] / US adjective [never before noun] a) legally responsible for causing damage or injury, so that you have to pay something or be punished If something goes wrong, you ll be liable. liable for: The hospital was held liable for… …   English dictionary

  • liable — /luy euh beuhl/, adj. 1. legally responsible: You are liable for the damage caused by your action. 2. subject or susceptible: to be liable to heart disease. 3. likely or apt: He s liable to get angry. [1535 45; < AF li(er) to bind ( < L ligare) + …   Universalium

  • liable — 01. If someone goes to a party at your house, and then tries to drive home drunk, you could be held [liable] if they are in an accident. 02. She s not a good skater, so she is [liable] to hurt herself if she goes rollerblading without a helmet.… …   Grammatical examples in English

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