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Liable and Libel

Commonly Confused Words


The adjective liable (a three-syllable word) means legally responsible for something or likely to do or be something.

The noun libel (a two-syllable word) refers to a false publication that damages a person's reputation. As a verb, libel means to defame someone by publishing a libel.


  • The court ruled that school officials cannot be held financially liable for the improper search.

  • Because of rising legal costs, regional newspapers may not be able to defend themselves in libel actions.

(a) While _____ and slander are regulated by law in the real world, in the cyberworld almost anything goes.

(b) When Benny lost his temper, anything was _____ to happen.

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Glossary of Usage: Index of Commonly Confused Words

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