Definition of liable in English:


Line breaks: li¦able
Pronunciation: /ˈlʌɪəb(ə)l


1Responsible by law; legally answerable: the credit-card company is liable for any breach of contract
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.
1.1 (liable to) Subject by law to: non-resident trustees are liable to the basic rate of tax
More example sentences
  • Can we elect to have the whole of the income assessed to tax on my wife, who is only liable to basic rate tax?
  • Unlicensed fireworks displays, even on private property, are illegal and may render the participants liable to prosecution.
  • Failure to comply with any of those provisions will render building workers liable to imprisonment.
2 [with infinitive] Likely 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
informal on the cards
2.1 (liable to) Likely to experience (something undesirable): areas liable to flooding
exposed, open, prone, subject, susceptible, vulnerable, in danger of, at risk of, at the mercy of


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

Definition of liable in: