li·​a·​ble | \ ˈlī-ə-bəl How to pronounce liable (audio) , especially in sense 2 often ˈlī-bəl\

Definition of liable

1a : obligated according to law or equity (see equity sense 3) : responsible liable for the debts incurred by his wife
b : subject to appropriation or attachment All his property is liable to pay his debts.
2a : 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

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Choose the Right Synonym for liable

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

synonyms see in addition responsible

Liable vs. Apt: Usage Guide

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.

Examples of liable in a Sentence

If someone gets hurt on your property, you could be liable. because of his frail constitution, he's liable to diseases

Recent Examples on the Web

House members’ main gripe, however, is that the Senate bill dramatically weakens three key tenets of the legislation, including the need for lawmakers to be liable for discrimination settlements as well as harassment settlements. Li Zhou, Vox, "Congress seemed determined to tackle its sexual harassment problem. But, the bill is still stalled.," 6 Dec. 2018 Under no circumstances will the Site be liable for any goods, services, resources or content available through such third-party dealings or communications, or for any harm related thereto., "San Diego Union-Tribune Terms of Service," 25 June 2018 On Tuesday, jurors found the 39-year-old Punk, whose legal name is Phillip Jack Brooks, and Colt Cabana (Scott Colton) not liable for defamation and false light in a case brought by WWE senior ringside physician Dr. Christopher Amann. Michael Mccann,, "What Were the Key Factors Behind CM Punk Winning His Defamation Trial?," 5 June 2018 The judge also relied on a prior appeals court ruling that found the contractors working on the project should not be liable for damages -- leaving the Sewerage & Water Board entirely on the hook. Beau Evans,, "Judge rejects Sewerage & Water Board motion for new trial in Uptown drainage lawsuit," 9 May 2018 New York City's initial complaint paralleled earlier lawsuits against the tobacco industry, arguing that if customers use a company's product exactly how it should be used and that causes harm, the company can be held liable for that harm. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Judge says climate issues the purview of federal government, tosses NYC lawsuit," 20 July 2018 That law protects internet platform providers from being held legally liable for what others post on their websites. Charlie Savage And Timothy Williams, New York Times, "U.S. Seizes, a Site Accused of Enabling Prostitution," 7 Apr. 2018 If the workers win at trial, the case could have a profound effect on how major corporations are held liable for workplace wrongdoing. Josh Eidelson,, "Trump Labor Board Scrambles to Avoid Pro-Worker Ruling, Lawyers Claim," 17 Mar. 2018 The suit was dismissed because a judge ruled the manufacturer was protected by the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which prevents firearms companies from being held liable for crimes committed with their products. Fortune, "Smith & Wesson Made the AR-15 Used in Florida School Massacre," 16 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'liable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of liable

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for liable

Middle English lyable, from Anglo-French *liable, from lier to bind, from Latin ligare — more at ligature

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Time Traveler for liable

The first known use of liable was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for liable



English Language Learners Definition of liable

: legally responsible for something
: likely to be affected or harmed by something
: likely to do something


li·​a·​ble | \ ˈlī-ə-bəl How to pronounce liable (audio) \

Kids Definition of liable

1 : likely sense 1 It's liable to rain.
2 : judged by law to be responsible for something We are liable for damage that we do.
3 : not sheltered or protected (as from danger or accident) liable to injury


li·​a·​ble | \ ˈlī-ə-bəl How to pronounce liable (audio) \

Legal Definition of liable

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. Scott, Jr. the estate is liable for succession taxesCommissioner of Revenue Services v. Estate of Culpepper, 493 A.2d 297 (1985)
2a : being in a position to incur used with to liable to a fine property liable to duties
b : subject or amenable according to law

History and Etymology for liable

ultimately from Old French lier to bind, from Latin ligare

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More from Merriam-Webster on liable

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with liable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for liable

Spanish Central: Translation of liable

Nglish: Translation of liable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of liable for Arabic Speakers

Comments on liable

What made you want to look up liable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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