li·​ai·​son | \ ˈlē-ə-ˌzän How to pronounce liaison (audio) , lē-ˈā- How to pronounce liaison (audio) , nonstandard ˈlā-ə- How to pronounce liaison (audio) \

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

Psychiatric liaison nursing is a consulting role between the primary care team and the psychiatric nurse. Frederick N. Rasmussen,, "Lisa Robinson, founder of psychiatric liaison nursing, dies," 5 Aug. 2019 In the music video, Grande destroys any romantic liaisons the members of Social House have. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Ariana Grande's "Boyfriend" Is About Obsessively Crushing on Someone You're Not With," 2 Aug. 2019 About 20 veterans in the audience of about 150 people stood up or raised their hands when asked by Wayne Rioux, the Hartford HealthCare at Home veterans liaison and the master of ceremonies. Tess Vrbin,, "Five Connecticut WWII vets receive France’s highest honor," 30 July 2019 The anger from Beijing grew after protesters vandalized the outside of the Chinese government liaison office in Hong Kong, including throwing paint on the national emblem. Chris Buckley, New York Times, "China Backs Hong Kong Officials, but Leaves Protests for Them to Solve," 29 July 2019 Schmid has become an informal liaison between his neighbors and county officials. Alejandra Reyes-velarde,, "Help pouring in to Trona after earthquakes, but officials warn recovery will take time," 10 July 2019 The new Community Services Division will include the Behavioral Health Unit, a community engagement officer, a new homeless community liaison who is undergoing a background check and a new civilian community engagement specialist, yet to be hired., "Portland police chief creates an inspector general office and new community services division," 9 July 2019 But the overhaul created a new position called a monitor — effectively a liaison between the police department and the board. Cassandra Jaramillo, Dallas News, "Dallas trauma surgeon who led police oversight board overhaul is leaving city," 8 July 2019 Erik Heimer, who has stayed in close contact with Flores’ family as a victim liaison since his death. Hasiten Willis, ajc, "Memorial garden honors first Latino police officer killed in Atlanta," 5 July 2019

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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Last Updated

15 Aug 2019

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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).


a period when something is suspended

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