liable

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 Liable, open, exposed, subject, prone, susceptible, sensitive are used with reference to persons or things and mean being by nature or situation in a position where something stated or implied may happen.
Liable (see also APT 2; RESPONSIBLE) is used particularly when the thing one incurs or may incur is the result of his obligation to authority, of his state in life, or of submission to forces beyond his control
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one of the most horrible diseases to which mankind is liableEliot

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literature is liable to obsolescence, not only because language changes and gradually becomes less intelligible, but because the ideas, the interests, the conception of life it expresses, the very form of the thought, the experiences which arouse emotion, all become obsolete— Aldington

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liable to be burned at the stake for . . . heresy— Repplier

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Open suggests lack of barriers or ease of access
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standing thus alone ... open to all the criticism which descends on the lone operator— Catton

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another modern tendency in education . . . somewhat more open to question—I mean the tendency to make education useful rather than ornamental— Russell

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Exposed presupposes the same conditions as open, but it is more restricted in application because it implies a position or state of peril or a lack of protection or of resistance
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infant mortality is high because the piglets are exposed to diseases the sow carries— Farmer's Weekly

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Germans never tire of explaining that their exposed position in Central Europe has forced them to follow a policy of expansion— Bullock

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Subject and prone (see also PRONE 2) both suggest greater likelihood of incurring or suffering than liable and even less resistance than exposed; they may both connote the position of being under the sway or control of a superior power, but otherwise they differ in implications.
Subject implies openness to something which must be suffered, borne, or undergone for a reason (as a state in life or a social, economic, or political status or a quality of temperament or nature)
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the French people would have stood permanently weak, open to invasion and subject to continual interference— Belloc

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both were subject to constant criticism from men and bodies of men whose minds were as acute and whose learning was as great as their own— Henry Adams

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Paul was rather a delicate boy, subject to bronchitis— D. H. Lawrence

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the cycles to which all civilizations are subjectEllis

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the constitution was strictly an unwritten one, and was avowedly subject to revision in the light of new developments— Buchan

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Prone, on the other hand, usually implies that the person, or less often the thing, concerned is more or less governed by a propensity or predisposition to something which makes him or it almost certain to incur or to do that thing when conditions are favorable
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you may well warn me against such an evil. Human nature is so prone to fall into it!—Austen

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I think that girls are less prone than boys to punish oddity by serious physical cruelty— Russell

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in those industries that are most prone to periods of depression and unemployment— Hobson

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our painters are prone to acquiesce in the colors of nature as they find them, rather than to use colors expressive of the mood evoked in themselves— Binyon

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Susceptible carries a stronger implication than the preceding terms, with the exception of prone, of something in the person's or thing's nature, character, constitution, or temperament that makes him or it unresistant or liable to a thing and especially to a deleterious thing or a thing that exerts a deleterious influence
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wheat tends to be very susceptible to smut— Furnas

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a mind enormously more susceptible to tragic impressions than your own— Montague

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a natural-born actor, who was, in childhood, susceptible not only to somnambulism but to mesmeric control— Brooks

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When used attributively the word often implies a readiness to fall in love
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a very susceptible young man

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Sometimes, however, susceptible stresses openness by reason of one's nature, character, or constitution, rather than liability, and when followed by of is equivalent to admitting or allowing
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a theory susceptible of proof

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today's pedagogical theory asserts that memory cannot be cultivated: it is inborn, full-grown at the start, and not susceptible of increase— Grandgent

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Sensitive differs from susceptible chiefly in implying a physical or emotional condition that predisposes one to certain impressions or certain reactions
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she was too sensitive to abuse and calumny— Macaulay

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she discovered that with the clarification of her complexion and the birth of pink cheeks her skin had grown more sensitive to the sun's rays— Hardy

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she was extremely sensitive to neglect, to disagreeable impressions, to want of intelligence in her surroundings— Henry Adams

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the eye is much more sensitive to light than the hand or the balance to weight— Darrow

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Antonyms: exempt, immune
3 likely, *apt

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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 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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