Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for January 15, 2019 is:
liaison • \LEE-uh-zahn\ • noun
1 : a binding or thickening agent used in cooking
2 a : a close bond or connection : interrelationship
b : an illicit sexual relationship : affair
3 a : communication for establishing and maintaining mutual understanding and cooperation (as between parts of an armed force)
b : a person who establishes and maintains communication for mutual understanding and cooperation
4 : the pronunciation of an otherwise absent consonant sound at the end of the first of two consecutive words the second of which begins with a vowel sound and follows without pause
“Brennan and Alejandro Castro agreed on a series of steps to build confidence. One called for the Cubans to post an officer in Washington to act as a formal liaison between the two countries’ intelligence agencies.” — Adam Entous, The New Yorker, 19 Nov. 2018
“… the book offers vignettes that describe Smith’s childhood as the youngest of seven Irish-American kids in Chicago; his sister’s short liaison with a married British man who shared the surname Smith; and a panicked hashish trip in Amsterdam.” — Kirkus Reviews, 1 Dec. 2018
Did you know?
If you took French in school, you might remember that liaison is the term for the phenomenon that causes a silent consonant at the end of one word to sound like it begins the next word when that word begins with a vowel, so that a phrase like beaux arts sounds like \boh zahr\. We can thank French for the origin of the term, as well. Liaison derives from the Middle French lier, meaning “to bind or tie,” and is related to our word liable. Our various English senses of liaison apply it to all kinds of bonds—from people who work to connect different groups to the kind of relationship sometimes entered into by two people who are attracted to one another.
January 15, 2019 at 01:00PM