li·​ai·​son | \ˈlē-ə-ˌzän, lē-ˈā-, nonstandard ˈlā-ə- \

Definition of liaison 

1 : a binding or thickening agent used in cooking a butter and flour liaison

2a : a close bond or connection : interrelationship

b : an illicit sexual relationship : affair sense 3a

3a : communication for establishing and maintaining mutual understanding and cooperation (as between parts of an armed force)

b : a person who establishes and maintains communication for mutual understanding and cooperation a press liaison

4 : the pronunciation of an otherwise absent consonant sound at the end of the first of two consecutive words the second of which begins with a vowel sound and follows without pause

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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.

Examples of liaison in a Sentence

Today's army works on rotations; soldiers are deployed for about a year and then (in principle at least) they come home. When that happens, local liaisons and intelligence relationships must be rebuilt. — James K. Galbraith, Mother Jones, March/April 2006 I had known Korologos when I was Solicitor General, and he was the Nixon White House's liaison to the Senate. He was a great support. — Robert H. Bork, The Tempting of America, 1990 Gossip columnists began to infer from Evelyn's disappearances that she was engaging in reckless liaisons, and her name was linked with dozens of men around town. — E. L. Doctorow, Ragtime, (1974) 1975 She acts as a liaison between the police department and city schools. Administrators need to maintain better liaison with employees. Administrators need to establish a close liaison with employees. He regretted his liaison with a woman from the office.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Fearful that publicity would jeopardize her child-custody battle, Rakes asks Ford to serve as liaison with the FBI. Tom Nolan, WSJ, "Mysteries: From Long Beach to Abu Ghraib," 5 Oct. 2018 Pitch Perfect 3's Elizabeth Banks is set to direct and star as Bosley (the angels' liaison with Charlie who has historically been played by a man). Ruby Buddemeyer, Marie Claire, "The Rumored Cast of the 'Charlie's Angels' Reboot Is So Freaking Good," 5 July 2018 Munster was appointed as City Hall's liaison with RTA in December. Beau Evans,, "Jared Munster, Safety & Permits chief, to be RTA interim executive director," 22 May 2018 Now, Cleveland police employ dedicated missing persons detectives in each of its five districts, and stationed their department-wide missing persons liaison at the Northeast Ohio Regional Fusion Center. Courtney Astolfi,, "How have missing persons investigations in Cleveland changed since Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were found?," 3 May 2018 The event raised money through sponsorships, ticket sales and auctions, said Roxanne Davis, a community liaison with The Woodlands Family YMCA at Shadowbend and Branch Crossing. Julie Cornell, Houston Chronicle, "Dancing for a Cause raises funds for YMCA with a few twists, spins," 14 Apr. 2018 Originally connected to Aspire as a player host in Arizona, Kraft moved with her family to Louisville to work full-time as Aspire’s academic liaison with DeSales. Gentry Estes, The Courier-Journal, "Aspire Academy: Inside the newest – and most talented – high school basketball team in Louisville," 14 Feb. 2018 Marc Short, formerly the Trump administration’s congressional liaison, said on CNN. Siobhan Hughes, WSJ, "Susan Collins Finds a Starring Role in Kavanaugh Vote," 5 Oct. 2018 The office's resources include is the Family Resource Centers, family liaisons, parent leadership opportunities, community and educational information, and more. Quoron Walker, Courant Community, "MPS Office Of Equity And Partnerships Moves To New Location," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'liaison.' 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 liaison

circa 1648, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for liaison

French, from Middle French, from lier, from Old French

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Dictionary Entries near liaison





liaison aircraft



Statistics for liaison

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for liaison

The first known use of liaison was circa 1648

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More Definitions for liaison



English Language Learners Definition of liaison

: a person who helps organizations or groups to work together and provide information to each other

: a relationship that allows different organizations or groups to work together and provide information to each other

: a secret sexual relationship

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More from Merriam-Webster on liaison

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with liaison

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for liaison

Spanish Central: Translation of liaison

Nglish: Translation of liaison for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of liaison for Arabic Speakers

Comments on liaison

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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