liable

liable
\ \ [15] Today’s main meaning of liable, ‘likely to’, is a comparatively recent development. Its primary sense is ‘legally bound or obliged’ (as in ‘liable for someone else’s debts’), which goes right back to the word’s ultimate source, Latin ligāretie’. Its Old French descendant lier is assumed to have give rise to an Anglo-Norman derivative *liable, literally ‘bindable’, which English took over. Other English words that come ultimately from ligāre include ally, liaison [17], lien [16] (etymologically a ‘bond’), ligament [14], ligature [14], oblige, religion, and rely.
\ \ Cf.ALLY, LIAISON, LIEN, LIGAMENT, LIGATURE, OBLIGE, RELIGION, RELY

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • liable — li·a·ble / lī ə bəl/ adj [ultimately from Old French lier to bind, from Latin ligare] 1: answerable according to law: bound or obligated according to law or equity one is liable as an accomplice to the crime of another W. R. LaFave and A. W.… …   Law dictionary

  • liable — li‧a‧ble [ˈlaɪəbl] adjective [not before a noun] LAW 1. legally responsible for paying something: liable for • The troubled company will be liable for about $52 million in back taxes and penalties. 2. likely to be legally punished or forced to… …   Financial and business terms

  • Liable — Li a*ble (l[imac] [.a]*b l), a. [From F. lier to bind, L. ligare. Cf. {Ally}, v. t., {Ligature}.] 1. Bound or obliged in law or equity; responsible; answerable; as, the surety is liable for the debt of his principal. [1913 Webster] 2. Exposed to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • liable — 1 amenable, answerable, *responsible, accountable Analogous words: obliged, constrained, compelled (see FORCE vb): bound, tied (see TIE vb) Contrasted words: exempt, immune (see corresponding nouns at EXEMPTION): *free, independent 2 …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • liable to — likely to experience (something undesirable): → liable liable to subject by law to. → liable …   English new terms dictionary

  • liable — ► ADJECTIVE 1) responsible by law; legally answerable. 2) (liable to) subject by law to. 3) (liable to do) likely to do. 4) (liable to) likely to experience (something undesirable). ORIGIN perhaps from French li …   English terms dictionary

  • liable — [lī′ə bəl; ] often, esp. for 3 [, lī′bəl] adj. [prob. via Anglo Fr < OFr lier, to bind < L ligare, to bind (see LIGATURE) + ABLE] 1. legally bound or obligated, as to make good any loss or damage that occurs in a transaction; responsible 2 …   English World dictionary

  • liable — (adj.) mid 15c., bound or obliged by law, probably from Anglo Fr. *liable, from O.Fr. lier to bind, tie up, fasten, tether; bind by obligation, from L. ligare to bind, to tie (see LIGAMENT (Cf. ligament)). With ABLE (Cf. able). General sense of… …   Etymology dictionary

  • liable — [adj1] answerable, responsible accountable, amenable, bound, chargeable, obligated, subject, tied; concept 545 Ant. excusable, freed, irresponsible, unaccountable liable [adj2] open, likely apt, assailable, attackable, beatable, conquerable,… …   New thesaurus

  • liable to — index conditional Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • liable */*/ — UK [ˈlaɪəb(ə)l] / US adjective [never before noun] a) legally responsible for causing damage or injury, so that you have to pay something or be punished If something goes wrong, you ll be liable. liable for: The hospital was held liable for… …   English dictionary

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