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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Casey Katims, federal liaison for Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, said the situation there is too dire for the state to wait until President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in Jan. 20. Arkansas Online, "States plead for more federal help as virus outbreak worsens," 17 Nov. 2020 Specific headlines about court rulings against police and leadership changes at China’s liaison office in Hong Kong were quickly toned down, some of these people said. Washington Post, "With protests muzzled, Hong Kong takes aim at the press," 14 Nov. 2020 For the Beehive State’s 300,000-plus Catholics, said Jean Hill, government liaison for the Diocese of Salt Lake City, there are Masses in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic and Tagalog. The Salt Lake Tribune, "As second Catholic to win the presidency, Biden wins support from Utah Catholics as ‘a man of faith’," 8 Nov. 2020 Ayesha Butler, the homeless liaison for NOLA Public Schools, participated in a briefing Wednesday with U.S. Reps. Jimmy Panetta, D-California, and Don Bacon, R-Nebraska, to explain how funding could be used to help New Orleans youth. Della Hasselle | Staff Writer,, "New Orleans' homeless numbers will rise, advocates warn; public schools plea for funding to help," 17 Oct. 2020 Jaasiel Chapman, the trial’s community liaison for the Black community and a native of the city, says there’s no escaping the divisiveness. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, "On the road with Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. COVID-19 vaccine effort," 29 Sep. 2020 Jose Reynoso, a liaison for the College Area and its nearly 24,000 residents, came to de la Torre’s defense. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Faculty sharply question Adela de la Torre’s handling of SDSU’s COVID-19 crisis," 26 Sep. 2020 In Kenosha, typically, a permit for this kind of event would need to be filed at least 30 days in advance, said Kris Kochman, community relations liaison for the city. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "An evangelical activist could draw big crowds to Milwaukee, Madison and Kenosha as Wisconsin reaches record COVID-19 cases," 14 Sep. 2020 After a brief discussion, Mayor Bob Higley asked Lankford to partner with Councilmember John Barns, the council liaison for the Seniors Board, and prepare a proposal. Ryan Nickerson, Houston Chronicle, "West U proposal allows residents to approve a city in check during extended absences," 11 Aug. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about liaison

Time Traveler for liaison

Time Traveler

The first known use of liaison was circa 1648

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about liaison

Statistics for liaison

Last Updated

22 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Liaison.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for liaison


How to pronounce liaison (audio) How to pronounce liaison (audio) How to pronounce liaison (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!