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.

Synonyms: 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)

Origin: From F. Lier to bind, L. Ligare. Cf. Ally, Ligature.

(01 Mar 1998)

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