Definition of liability in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The state of being legally responsible for something.

    ‘once you contact the card protection scheme your liability for any loss ends’
    • ‘Now no one can know the extent of potential criminal liability under federal law.’
    • ‘The action was brought against the referee, for whom the Union accepted vicarious liability.’
    • ‘In distributing an issuer's securities, a bank can obviously incur legal liability through its own conduct.’
    • ‘Hence, foreign corporations do not incur capital gains tax liability.’
    • ‘At one time there was some confusion over the basis of an employer's vicarious liability.’
    • ‘Once the buyer has shown goods to be defective, strict liability arises for their consequences.’
    • ‘She gave birth to a healthy child, and the respondents accepted liability for negligence.’
    • ‘The statute does not impose strict liability on a municipality.’
    • ‘You say that this is product liability for property damage.’
    • ‘The municipality is pursued for its vicarious liability for the negligence of its employee.’
    • ‘There is no legal prohibition denying the Community the right to accept liability for private acts of its servants.’
    • ‘Each directly impacts public safety and incurs civil liability.’
    • ‘The distinction between liability for acts and liability for omissions is well known.’
    • ‘Counsel for the appellants argues that those words are not sufficiently precise to exclude liability for negligence.’
    • ‘If income from the foreign employment contract is not remitted into Ireland, no Irish income tax liability arises.’
    • ‘Legal systems differ in their approaches to the principles which determine the criminal liability of companies.’
    • ‘Legal experts will be on hand at the seminars to help clients minimise any potential inheritance tax liability.’
    • ‘The bank's liability in such cases is discussed in Chapter 12.’
    • ‘Thus by statutory provision banks can avoid liability for breach of the duty of confidentiality.’
    • ‘Significantly, however, the federal statute does not impose criminal liability for cruel, inhuman, or degrading acts.’
    accountability, responsibility, legal responsibility, answerability
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    1. 1.1[count noun]A thing for which someone is responsible, especially an amount of money owed.
      ‘valuing the company's liabilities and assets’
      • ‘The books and records must contain all details of the company's assets, liabilities and stocks.’
      • ‘For the other sectors, balance sheet data are limited to financial assets and liabilities.’
      • ‘This was to allow it to match its pension fund liabilities with more predictable bond earnings.’
      • ‘Above all, reduce the unfunded potential future liabilities (they are not legal obligations like Treasury bonds) first.’
      • ‘They need to understand the concept of matching assets with liabilities.’
      • ‘The civil service pension liabilities have a severe impact on fiscal consolidation and fiscal flexibility.’
      • ‘I thought it required a far more disciplined approach to managing assets and liabilities.’
      • ‘However, net wealth is the value of our total assets less our financial liabilities.’
      • ‘We want to retire with the largest possible pot of assets and the least amount of liabilities.’
      • ‘Current assets or liabilities are those with an expected life of less than 12 months.’
      • ‘Most bogus non-resident account holders died with undeclared assets and tax liabilities.’
      • ‘All of that is trivial, compared to the yawning black hole of unfunded pension liabilities.’
      • ‘This will include taking into account accrued liabilities and assets.’
      • ‘Such warnings are common in start-up companies where liabilities exceed assets.’
      • ‘This disclosed an excess of liabilities over assets amounting to £677,000.’
      • ‘In many cases the excess of assets over liabilities in respect of pensioners can be released and used to augment pensions.’
      • ‘The agreement posits a balance of assets and liabilities, not a deficit.’
      • ‘Over the course of the quarter, the company took steps to realign assets and liabilities.’
      • ‘Projected revenue streams, net income, assets and liabilities should be listed.’
      • ‘It is also beneficial to take a close look at ballooning household assets and liabilities.’
      financial obligation, debt, indebtedness, debit
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  • 2[usually in singular] A person or thing whose presence or behaviour is likely to put one at a disadvantage.

    ‘she said the party had become a liability to green politics’
    • ‘They've got deadlines to meet and if I'm a weak link, I could be a liability.’
    • ‘Only now do they appear to acknowledge that he is a liability.’
    • ‘Is the leader becoming a liability, or can he convince his critics he's not a racist?’
    • ‘In a world where everything has to be purchased, too many children can be a liability and they are less likely to provide security.’
    • ‘Such a civil servant is a liability who should be ejected from the system.’
    • ‘I don't wish to blame my children for everything, but they are a major liability when you're prone to blushing.’
    • ‘Perhaps it was this fact that made her determined to please her father and not to be considered a liability to the family.’
    • ‘Fellow drivers kicked up a fuss, claiming that he was too inexperienced, and that he was a potential liability.’
    • ‘When wildlife is perceived to be a danger and a liability, it compromises the very basis of conservation.’
    • ‘He has been nothing but trouble since he moved in there in March, and is a dangerous liability.’
    • ‘As he gradually becomes a greater liability, even the most supine members of the parliamentary party will put pressure on him to go.’
    • ‘Girls would not be seen as a burden or a liability if they were guaranteed an equal right to inheritance and property.’
    • ‘Ask any historian: what is it about political consorts that makes them such a liability?’
    • ‘This is not a political liability - it is potentially a powerful political asset.’
    • ‘Now that we have seen his response to the revelations, it is surely beyond dispute that he is a liability who must be removed forthwith.’
    • ‘It must be even lonelier when you realise you've been left off a dive list because people see you as a nuisance or a liability.’
    • ‘One could expect that Junior's presence will become a liability once he spells out his plan.’
    hindrance, encumbrance, burden, handicap, nuisance, inconvenience
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