Definition of liable in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈlī(ə)b(ə)l/


1Responsible by law; legally answerable: the supplier of goods or services can become liable for breach of contract in a variety of ways
More example sentences
  • Might the host ever be legally liable for that injury?
  • As a general principle, people are not legally liable for failing to act, so that a distinction should be drawn between causing death and failing to keep the patient alive.
  • A corporation is vicariously liable for strict liability offences to exactly the same extent as a natural person.
responsible, legally responsible, accountable, answerable, chargeable, blameworthy, at fault, culpable, guilty
2Likely to do or to be something: patients were liable to faint if they stood up too suddenly
More example sentences
  • Basic cable service is liable to cost hundreds of dollars per year.
  • This area is now open ground liable to be overtaken by weeds and wattles.
  • Some are clearly panicked by the experience and liable to rush their ascent.
likely, inclined, tending, disposed, apt, predisposed, prone, given
2.1 (liable to) Likely to experience (something undesirable): areas liable to flooding
exposed to, prone to, subject to, susceptible to, vulnerable to, in danger of, at risk of


Late Middle English: perhaps from Anglo-Norman French, from French lier 'to bind', from Latin ligare.

  • rely from Middle English:

    The word rely is from Old French relier ‘bind together’, from Latin ligare ‘bind’. The original sense was ‘gather together’, later ‘turn to, associate with’, which then led to ‘depend upon with confidence’. The same Latin root gives us liable [1642] originally meaning ‘bound by law’, ligament (late 16th century), and ligature (Middle English), both originally used for anything that ties.

Words that rhyme with liable

dyeable, flyable, friable, pliable, triable, viable

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: li·a·ble

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