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  1. composed of molecules that move freely among themselves but do not tend to separate like those of gases; neither gaseous nor solid.
  2. of, relating to, or consisting of liquids: a liquid diet.
  3. flowing like water.
  4. clear, transparent, or bright: liquid eyes.
  5. (of sounds, tones, etc.) smooth; agreeable; flowing freely: the liquid voice of a trained orator.
  6. in cash or readily convertible into cash without significant loss of principal: liquid assets.
  7. Phonetics. characterizing a frictionless speech sound pronounced with only a partial obstruction of the breath stream and whose utterance can be prolonged as that of a vowel, especially l and r.
  8. (of movements, gestures, etc.) graceful; smooth; free and unconstricted: the ballerina's liquid arabesques.
  1. a liquid substance.
  2. Phonetics. either r or l, and sometimes m, n, ng.

Origin of liquid

1350–1400; Middle English liquyd < Latin liquidus, equivalent to liqu(ēre) to be liquid + -idus -id4
Related formsliq·uid·ly, adverbliq·uid·ness, nounnon·liq·uid, adjective, nounnon·liq·uid·ly, adverbun·liq·uid, adjective
Can be confusedfluid gas liquid (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms for liquid

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1. Liquid, fluid agree in referring to matter that is not solid. Liquid commonly refers to substances, as water, oil, alcohol, and the like, that are neither solids nor gases: Water ceases to be a liquid when it is frozen or turned to steam. Fluid is applied to anything that flows, whether liquid or gaseous: Pipes can carry fluids from place to place. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of liquid

British Dictionary definitions for liquid


  1. a substance in a physical state in which it does not resist change of shape but does resist change of sizeCompare gas (def. 1), solid (def. 1)
  2. a substance that is a liquid at room temperature and atmospheric pressure
  3. phonetics a frictionless continuant, esp (l) or (r)
  1. of, concerned with, or being a liquid or having the characteristic state of liquidsliquid wax
  2. shining, transparent, or brilliant
  3. flowing, fluent, or smooth
  4. (of assets) in the form of money or easily convertible into money
Derived Formsliquidly, adverbliquidness, noun

Word Origin for liquid

C14: via Old French from Latin liquidus, from liquēre to be fluid
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 liquid

late 14c., from Old French liquide "liquid, running," from Latin liquidus "fluid, liquid, moist," figuratively "flowing, continuing," from liquere "be fluid," related to liqui "to melt, flow," from PIE *wleik- "to flow, run." Of sounds, from 1630s (the Latin word also was used of sounds). Financial sense of "capable of being converted to cash" is first recorded 1818.


"a liquid substance," 1709, from liquid (adj.). Earlier it meant "sound of a liquid consonant" (1520s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

liquid in Medicine


  1. The state of matter in which a substance exhibits a characteristic readiness to flow, little or no tendency to disperse, and relatively high incompressibility.
  2. Matter or a specific body of matter in this state.
  1. Of or being a liquid.
  2. Having been liquefied, especially melted by heating or condensed by cooling.
  3. Flowing readily; fluid.
Related formsliquid•ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

liquid in Science


  1. One of four main states of matter, composed of molecules that can move about in a substance but are bound loosely together by intramolecular forces. Unlike a solid, a liquid has no fixed shape, but instead has a characteristic readiness to flow and therefore takes on the shape of any container. Because pressure transmitted at one point is passed on to other points, a liquid usually has a volume that remains constant or changes only slightly under pressure, unlike a gas.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

liquid in Culture


A phase of matter in which atoms or molecules can move freely while remaining in contact with one another. A liquid takes the shape of its container. (Compare gas and solid.)

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.