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

Special Agent Jeff Kierman: April 2012, NCIS had assigned me to be a liaison to the San Diego Sheriff's Homicide Department. CBS News, "The search for a missing military wife takes NCIS agents into a dark world," 5 June 2018 Xiong was a Milwaukee Public Schools liaison for Hmong children, taught English as a Second Language, trained Hmong and Lao leaders in Milwaukee and was among those instrumental in establishing Lao Hmong Veterans of America. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Hmong colonel who fought with U.S. in Vietnam gets full military burial," 9 Apr. 2018 The Politico report identified the two HHS staffers who've left the agency as Gavin Smith, a policy adviser who resigned Friday, and Tim Clark, the agency’s White House liaison, who is expected to depart in the coming weeks. Bradford Betz, Fox News, "HHS departures signal new secretary's 'no-nonsense' approach: report," 14 July 2018 Kevin Bailey, the police department’s LGBTQ liaison, at a news conference announcing the new initiative Wednesday. Jessica Anderson,, "Baltimore police announce new 'Safe Place' initiative with local businesses," 13 June 2018 Owletuck, who was Calista's government relations liaison, was fired last year. Nathaniel Herz, Anchorage Daily News, "Court filings expose power struggle over sex harassment charges at Native corporation Calista," 8 June 2018 Holmes, who is also the department's LGBTQ liaison, said members of the staff donated the full $350 cost of the decal, which will remain on the cruiser through the end of June. Danielle Garrand, CBS News, "Pittsburgh Police Department unveils rainbow decal in support of Pride Month," 30 May 2018 Kimberly Blackwell, the chief's neighborhood liaison, is a 23-year veteran. Brandon Patterson, Detroit Free Press, "How these 20 women are protecting Detroiters every day," 23 May 2018 Disclosures were also required of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s former oversight board liaison, Elías Sánchez Sifonte, who was criticized by opposition lawmakers for working for law and government relations firms while serving on the board. Andrew Scurria, WSJ, "Puerto Rico’s Bankruptcy Advisers Could Get Closer Scrutiny," 9 May 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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Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

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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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Comments on liaison

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the setting in which something occurs

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