1. Legally obligated; responsible:
2. At risk of or subject to experiencing or suffering something unpleasant. Used with to :
liable to criminal charges; liable to diabetes.
3. Often used with reference to an unfavorable outcome:
In a depression banks are liable to fail.
4. Middle English
5. probably from Old French lier [to bind]
可能源自 古法语 lier [使受约束]
6. from Latin lig3re * see leig-
源自 拉丁语 lig3re *参见 leig-
7. Liable, apt, and likely are often used interchangeably in constructions with following infinitives, as in John is liable to lose, John is apt to lose, and John is likely to lose. The three words are distinct in meaning. A widely repeated rule holds that liable should only be used if the subject would be adversely affected by the outcome expressed by the infinitive. The rule therefore permits John is liable to fall out of his chair if he doesn't sit up straight but not The chair is liable to be slippery, though constructions of the latter type have long been common in reputable writing. Apt usually suggests that the subject has a natural tendency enhancing the probability of an outcome, and that the speaker is in some way apprehensive about the outcome. Thus apt is more naturally used in a sentence like The fuel pump is apt to give out at any minute than in Even the clearest instructions are apt to be misinterpreted by those idiots (since the instructions are not at fault) or in The fuel pump is apt to give you no problems for the life of the car (since there is no reason that the speaker should regard such an outcome as unfortunate). Likely is more general than either liable or apt. It ascribes no particular property to the subject that enhances the probability of the outcome: while John is apt to lose the election may suggest that the loss will result from something John does or fails to do, John is likely to lose the election does not. Nor does it suggest anything about the desirability of the outcome from the point of view of either the speaker or the subject. A football coach who says We are apt to win may be suspected of sarcasm, and one who says We are liable to win may be suspected of having bet on the opposition; only We are likely to win is consistent with the expression of an unambivalent expectation of victory. See Usage Note at likely
Liable，apt 和 likely 在如下不定式结构中经常可以互换， 例如 John is liable to lose，John is apt to lose 和 John is likely to lose 。 这三个词的意思是有区别的。一条公认的语法规则认为，只有当主语受不定式所表示的动作或结果的不利影响时，才使用liable 。 因此这条规则允许说如果约翰不坐直身子的话，他很容易从椅子上掉下来的 ， 但不允许说椅子可能很滑 ， 尽管在规范的写作中，后一种类型的句型已经很普遍了。Apt 通常表示主语有增加某种结果的可能性的自然倾向， 而且说话者对此结果多少有些忧虑。因此，apt 用在句子 燃料泵可能随时停止运转 中，比用在 即使是最明了的指令也有可能被那些白痴误解 中更自然 （因为错的不是指令），也比用在燃料可能不会对你的车的使用寿命带来什么问题 中更合适 （因为说话者没有理由认为这样一个结果很不幸）。Likely 比 liable 或 apt 更具概括性。 它并不说明增加了一个结果的可能性的主语是否具有何特性：句子约翰在选举中可能会失败 可能暗示失败归因于约翰所做的或没能做的某件事， 而句子约翰在选举中有可能失败 则没有这种暗示。 另外，它也没有关于说话者或主语是否喜欢某一结果的暗示。如果一位足球教练说We are apt to win ， 他可能带有讽刺意味，但如果他说We are liable to win ， 他的意思是他认为他们可能会输；只有说We are likely to win ，才明确表示有希望获胜 参见 likely