li·​ai·​son lē-ˈā-ˌzän How to pronounce liaison (audio) ˈlē-ə-ˌzän How to pronounce liaison (audio)
ˈlā-ə- How to pronounce liaison (audio)
: a binding or thickening agent used in cooking
a butter and flour liaison
: a close bond or connection : interrelationship
: an illicit sexual relationship : affair sense 3a
: communication for establishing and maintaining mutual understanding and cooperation (as between parts of an armed force)
: a person who establishes and maintains communication for mutual understanding and cooperation
a press liaison
: 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

Did you know?

If you took French in school, you might remember that liaison is the word 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 \boh zahr\. We can thank French for the origin of the term, as well. Liaison comes from Middle French lier, meaning "to bind or tie." Other 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.

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web In an exclusive interview with CNN on Wednesday, Hayashi said Japan is in talks to open a NATO liaison office – the first of its kind in Asia – saying Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had repercussions far beyond Europe’s borders that had forced Tokyo to rethink regional security. Brad Lendon, CNN, 11 May 2023 Intelligence services from each military branch must send a liaison officer to AARO, and the agency head will report directly to top DoD and intelligence brass to avoid bureaucratic obfuscation. Popular Mechanics, 25 Apr. 2023 Rebuffed in her efforts that went all the way up the chain of command to the military liaison for then-Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama, Ms. Stewart was undeterred. Frederick N. Rasmussen, Baltimore Sun, 1 Mar. 2023 While there is a small defense liaison office at the U.S. Embassy, Biden has promised to keep American troops out of the war. Alice Martins, Washington Post, 20 Feb. 2023 Hanson will serve as a liaison between Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Executive Director Brittany Corrales and the Leucadia 101 Mainstreet board of directors, oversee execution of the annual plan, assist with day-to-day activities and help manage the Leucadia 101 Farmers Market. Laura Groch Feb. 19, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Feb. 2023 Serbia is sending 21 rescuers and three liaison officers to Turkey. Arkansas Online, 7 Feb. 2023 Franklin Leonard, founder of screenplay reviewer and studio liaison organization The Black List, was among the first to condemn McFarland. Naledi Ushe, USA TODAY, 14 Dec. 2022 That isn't exactly the setting for a secret liaison. Skyler Caruso, Peoplemag, 8 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'liaison.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

circa 1648, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of liaison was circa 1648


Dictionary Entries Near liaison

Cite this Entry

“Liaison.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


li·​ai·​son ˈlē-ə-ˌzän How to pronounce liaison (audio) lē-ˈā- How to pronounce liaison (audio)
: a close connection
: communication especially between parts of an armed force
: a person who sets up or keeps up liaison

More from Merriam-Webster on liaison

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