Definition of liable in English:



  • 1Responsible by law; legally answerable.

    ‘the credit-card company is liable for any breach of contract’
    • ‘Where the plaintiff could reasonably avoid losses, the defendant is not liable for those losses.’
    • ‘Neither you nor any other person is liable for the payments on the cards.’
    • ‘Both defendants are joint and severally liable for the plaintiff's loss.’
    • ‘The valuer is not liable unless he is negligent.’
    • ‘Might the host ever be legally liable for that injury?’
    • ‘However, the defendant is liable for the republication or for the damage caused by it.’
    • ‘The general rule in tort is that an employer is not liable for the acts of an independent contractor.’
    • ‘If an infringement occurs, everyone in the chain of sale is separately and jointly liable.’
    • ‘The owner was held vicariously liable for the negligence of the driver.’
    • ‘Supervisors can be civilly and criminally liable in instances that result in substantial injury or death.’
    • ‘As a general principle, people are not legally liable for failing to act, so that a distinction should be drawn between causing death and failing to keep the patient alive.’
    • ‘A corporation is vicariously liable for strict liability offences to exactly the same extent as a natural person.’
    • ‘With respect to the windows, the doctor conceded that the plaintiffs were not holding the defendant company liable for the design of the windows.’
    • ‘If the covenant has the meaning suggested by the lessees, the lessors are liable for breach of the implied covenant.’
    • ‘A lower court held the defendants liable for damages.’
    • ‘The employers were not vicariously liable for his negligence.’
    • ‘A court could find him liable for the very acts involved in the criminal charges.’
    • ‘The trial judge held the defendants liable for failing to close down that part of the factory.’
    • ‘The judge then considered the possibility of the defendants being vicariously liable for negligence of their social workers.’
    • ‘In tort, one is not liable for every injury caused by one's negligence.’
    responsible, legally responsible, accountable, answerable, chargeable, blameworthy, at fault, culpable, subject, guilty, faulty, censurable
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    1. 1.1Subject by law to.
      ‘non-resident trustees are liable to the basic rate of tax’
      • ‘The law is that if people commit serious criminal offences and they're non-citizens, they're liable to deportation.’
      • ‘Failure to comply with any of those provisions will render building workers liable to imprisonment.’
      • ‘Is she liable to repay his debts, as the demands are being sent to her home?’
      • ‘Can we elect to have the whole of the income assessed to tax on my wife, who is only liable to basic rate tax?’
      • ‘He indicated councillors could be personally liable to pay back any loan themselves if they ignored legal advice.’
      • ‘Unlicensed fireworks displays, even on private property, are illegal and may render the participants liable to prosecution.’
  • 2[with infinitive] Likely to do or to be something.

    ‘patients were liable to faint if they stood up too suddenly’
    • ‘Some are clearly panicked by the experience and liable to rush their ascent.’
    • ‘Basic cable service is liable to cost hundreds of dollars per year.’
    • ‘This area is now open ground liable to be overtaken by weeds and wattles.’
    likely, inclined, tending, disposed, apt, predisposed, prone, given
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    1. 2.1Likely to experience (something undesirable)
      ‘areas liable to flooding’
      exposed, open, prone, subject, susceptible, vulnerable, in danger of, at risk of, at the mercy of
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Late Middle English: perhaps from Anglo-Norman French, from French lier to bind, from Latin ligare.