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Webster 1913 Edition


Liable

Li′a-ble

(lī′ȧ-b’l)
,
Adj.
[From F.
lier
to bind, L.
ligare
. Cf.
Ally
,
Verb.
T.
,
Ligature
.]
1.
Bound or obliged in law or equity; responsible; answerable;
as, the surety is
liable
for the debt of his principal
.
2.
Exposed to a certain contingency or casualty, more or less probable; – with
to
and an infinitive or noun;
as,
liable
to slip;
liable
to accident.
Syn. – Accountable; responsible; answerable; bound; subject; obnoxious; exposed.
Liable
,
Subject
. Liable refers to a future possible or probable happening which may not actually occur; as, horses are liable to slip; even the sagacious are liable to make mistakes. Subject refers to any actual state or condition belonging to the nature or circumstances of the person or thing spoken of, or to that which often befalls one. One whose father was subject to attacks of the gout is himself liable to have that disease. Men are constantly subject to the law, but liable to suffer by its infraction.
Proudly secure, yet
liable
to fall.
Milton.
All human things are
subject
to decay.
Dryden.

Webster 1828 Edition


Liable

LI'ABLE

,
Adj.
[L. ligo. See Liege.]
1.
Bound; obliged in law or equity; responsible; answerable. The surety is liable for the debt of his principal. The parent is not liable for debts contracted by a son who is a minor, except for necessaries.
This use of liable is now common among lawyers. The phrase is abridged. The surety is liable, that is, bound to pay the debt of his principal.
2.
Subject; obnoxious; exposed.
Proudly secure, yet liable to fall.
Liable, in this sense, is always applied to evils. We never say, a man is liable to happiness or prosperity, but he is liable to disease, calamities, censure; he is liable to err, to sin, to fall.

Definition 2022


liable

liable

English

Adjective

liable (comparative more liable, superlative most liable)

  1. Bound or obliged in law or equity; responsible; answerable.
    The surety is liable for the debt of his principal.
    • 1748. David Hume. Enquiries concerning the human understanding and concerning the principles of moral. London: Oxford University Press, 1973. § 34.
      The passion for philosophy, like that for religion, seems liable to this inconvenience
  2. Exposed to a certain contingency or casualty, more or less probable.
  3. (as predicate, with "to" and an infinitive) Likely.
    Someone is liable to slip on your icy sidewalk.

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