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 Ken Bennett, who state Senate leaders put in charge as their liaison to the election review, is banned from the building where the work is happening and weighs stepping down. Staff Reports, The Arizona Republic, 25 Sep. 2021 An employee who serves as a liaison between the school and students’ families told her that no students at Verde were tested last week because nobody had submitted the forms. Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, 21 Sep. 2021 Chanel’s current artistic director, Virginie Viard, began her career as the liaison between the fashion house’s creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, and the various maisons. WSJ, 26 Aug. 2021 The district also is deploying a full-time social worker and a full-time family liaison to every school in an effort to address student well-being., 21 Sep. 2021 After his passing, Unitas’ wife, Sandy, stepped into his community liaison role and pushed to have the stadium named in his honor. San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Sep. 2021 As the projects move forward and more people learn about them, questions tend to arise – questions that the solar companies, which do not have a permanent liaison in this rural area, are not always on hand to answer., 16 Sep. 2021 One man, who identified himself to Ped Patrol as a private music teacher in Bexar and Wilson counties, had arranged a liaison with a decoy at a downtown hotel. Jacob Beltran, San Antonio Express-News, 16 Sep. 2021 Union Public Schools includes 13 elementary community school sites, each with a parent liaison and each providing programs, activities, and supports to meet community needs. Raymond Pierce, Forbes, 15 Sep. 2021

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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Time Traveler for liaison

Time Traveler

The first known use of liaison was circa 1648

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Dictionary Entries Near liaison



liaison aircraft

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Last Updated

6 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Liaison.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Oct. 2021.

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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 : affair

More from Merriam-Webster on liaison

Nglish: Translation of liaison for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of liaison for Arabic Speakers


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