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See more synonyms for liability on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural li·a·bil·i·ties.
  1. liabilities,
    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.
  2. something disadvantageous: His lack of education is his biggest liability.
  3. 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
Related formsnon·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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for liability

duty, culpability, accountability, burden, obligation, debt, mortgage, loan, inconvenience, damage, responsibility, involvement, exposure, susceptibility, onus, amenability, indebtedness, blame, compulsion, subjection

Examples from the Web for liability

Contemporary Examples of liability

Historical Examples of liability

British Dictionary definitions for liability


noun plural -ties
  1. the state of being liable
  2. a financial obligation
  3. a hindrance or disadvantage
  4. likelihood or probability
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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

Word Origin and History for liability


1790, originally a term in law; "condition of being legally liable;" see liable + -ity. General sense is from 1809; meaning "thing for which one is liable" is first attested 1842. Related: Liabilities.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

liability in Culture


An obligation or debt.

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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.