• liaison
  • audio pronunciation
  • \LEE-uh-zahn\
  • DEFINITION

noun

1
a : a close bond or connection b : an illicit sexual relationship : affair
2
a : communication for establishing and maintaining mutual understanding and cooperation (as between parts of an armed force) b : one that establishes and maintains communication for mutual understanding and cooperation
  • EXAMPLES

"This fall, one high school student, who currently serves on the Youth Advisory Board, will formally be appointed as liaison to city council and be participating in city council meetings." —From an article in the Peoria Times, July 12, 2013

"In February 1967, when she was 5, her mother, Frances, began an extramarital liaison that led to her parents' acrimonious divorce." —From an article by Caroline Weber in the New York Times, June 10, 2007

  • DID YOU KNOW?

If you took French in school, you might remember that "liaison" is the term for the phenomenon that causes a silent consonant at the end of one word to sound like it begins the next word when that word begins with a vowel, so that a phrase like "beaux arts" sounds like "bo zart." We can thank French for the origin of the term, as well. "Liaison" derives from the Middle French "lier," meaning "to bind or tie," and is related to our word "liable." Our various English senses of "liaison" apply it to all kinds of bonds—from people who work to connect different groups to the kind of relationship sometimes entered into by two people who are attracted to one another.

Word Family Quiz: What relative of "liaison" can mean "legally responsible"? The answer is …

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