[ lee-eyz ]
/ liˈeɪz /

verb (used without object), li·aised, li·ais·ing.

to form a liaison.

Origin of liaise

First recorded in 1925–30; back formation from liaison


What does liaise mean?

To liaise means “to form a liaison,” that is, “to communicate and maintain contact with another person or organization.” In other words, liaising is like acting as the contact person between two groups, such as between parents and teachers.

Contrary to popular complaints, liaise is a perfectly real and fine word. It’s been around since at least the 1920s.

Example: Jen is highly regarded for her ability to liaise with her company’s clients.

Where does liaise come from?

Recorded by the 1920s, liaise is a back formation (more on this below) of the noun liaison, a French noun meaning “connection” and coming from the same Latin root as ligation. The earliest meaning of liaison in English referred to the process of thickening sauces or soups by adding egg yolks, cream, butter, or flour. Liaise is first recorded in military slang.

A back formation is a word formed from an existing word that itself appears to be a derivative of the back-formed word. In the case of liase, it looks like the noun liaison is based on the verb liaise, but it’s actually the other way around. English has many common words you may not know were created by back formation: edit was back-formed from editor and sleaze from sleazy, to name a few.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms of liaise?

  • liaised (past tense and participle)
  • liaising (present participle)

What are some synonyms for liaise?

What are some words that share a root or word elements with liaise?

What are some words that often get used in discussing liaise?

How is liaise used in real life?

LiaiIse is commonly used to describe the work done by the “point of contact” between different organizations, especially different stakeholders in some common effort. This could be between parents and teachers in a school district, a business and the community it serves, or officers from different militaries working on a shared mission.

Try using liaise!

Which of the following is an antonym of liaise?

A. correspond
B. cooperate
C. disassociate
D. network

British Dictionary definitions for liaise

/ (lɪˈeɪz) /


(intr usually foll by with) to communicate and maintain contact (with)

Word Origin for liaise

C20: back formation from liaison