As Wiki points out, the root word "Liber" refers to freedom, therefore, the classical use of the term liberal refers to opposing the authoritarian nature of the state which gave rise to such events as the US and French Revolutions.
However, the term liberal has been changed over time to include equality as wiki points out. This type of thinking stresses the need for an authoritarian state to implement equality throughout society. This means Big Brother is needed in every facet of society to ensure that everything is fair and even. It is a never ending quest in a losing battle for equality. No matter how big and authoritarian government becomes, they can never achieve their goals, which means there will always be those advocating for more and more government.
Nothing can illustrate my point better than this famous C. S. Lewis quote,
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
In effect, you now have two opposing root meanings for the word liberal, one that opposes authoritarianism and one that embraces it.
Which are you?