legally responsible: You are liable for the damage caused by your action.
subject or susceptible: to be liable to heart disease.
likely or apt: He's liable to get angry.

1535–45; < Anglo-French li(er) to bind (< Latin ligāre) + -able

nonliable, adjective
preliable, adjective
unliable, adjective

1. defamation, liable, libel, slander (see usage note at the current entry) ; 2. liable, libel.

1. obliged, accountable.

Liable is often interchangeable with likely in constructions with a following infinitive where the sense is that of probability: The Sox are liable (or likely) to sweep the Series. Some usage guides, however, say that liable can be used only in contexts in which the outcome is undesirable: The picnic is liable to be spoiled by rain. This use occurs often in formal writing but not to the exclusion of use in contexts in which the outcome is desirable: The drop in unemployment is liable to stimulate the economy. Apt may also be used in place of liable or likely in all the foregoing examples. See also apt, likely. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
liable (ˈlaɪəbəl)
1.  legally obliged or responsible; answerable
2.  susceptible or exposed; subject
3.  probable, likely, or capable: it's liable to happen soon
[C15: perhaps via Anglo-French, from Old French lier to bind, from Latin ligāre]
usage  The use of liable to to mean likely to was formerly considered incorrect, but is now acceptable

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1540s, "bound or obliged by law," from Anglo-Fr. *liable, from O.Fr. lier "to bind," from L. ligare "to bind, to tie" (see ligament). General sense of "exposed to" (something undesirable) is from 1590s. Incorrect use for "likely" is attested from 1886.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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