[ lahy-uh-bil-i-tee ]
/ ˌlaɪ əˈbɪl ɪ ti /

noun, plural li·a·bil·i·ties.

  1. moneys owed; debts or pecuniary obligations (opposed to assets).
  2. Accounting. liabilities as detailed on a balance sheet, especially in relation to assets and capital.
something disadvantageous: His lack of education is his biggest liability.
Also li·a·ble·ness. the state or quality of being liable: liability to disease.


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Origin of liability

First recorded in 1785–95; li(able) + -ability


non·li·a·bil·i·ty, noun, plural non·li·a·bil·i·ties.pre·li·a·bil·i·ty, noun, plural pre·li·a·bil·i·ties. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for liabilities

British Dictionary definitions for liabilities (1 of 2)

/ (ˌlaɪəˈbɪlɪtɪz) /

pl n

accounting business obligations incurred but not discharged and entered as claims on the assets shown on the balance sheetCompare assets (def. 1)

British Dictionary definitions for liabilities (2 of 2)

/ (ˌlaɪəˈbɪlɪtɪ) /

noun plural -ties

the state of being liable
a financial obligation
a hindrance or disadvantage
likelihood or probability
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for liabilities


An obligation or debt.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.