adjective (likelier, likeliest)
- 1Such as well might happen or be true; probable: speculation on the likely effect of opting out [with clause]: it was likely that he would make a televised statement [with infinitive]: sales are likely to drop furtherMore example sentences
probable, distinctly possible, to be expected, odds-on, on, possible, credible, plausible, believable, within the bounds of possibility, imaginable; expected, anticipated, natural, prospective, predictable, predicted, foreseeable, ten to one, liable; sure, destined, fated; in the wind, in the air
- It is likely that many Australian homes do not even have a Bible, and those that do, leave it unread.
- If the legs move at each strain it is likely that the cow will calve without too much trouble.
- We are still finalising the design but it is likely that these specific premises will be affected.
- 2Apparently suitable; promising: a likely-looking spotMore example sentences
- Fay's apparent sweet tooth is likely to be rooted in a problem with blood sugar balance.
- I was just in a foul mood or something like that, most likely, so accept my humblest apologies.
- One reason for Essex's likely limitation on imported labour is the high cost of housing.
adverbBack to top
- Probably: we will most likely go to a barMore example sentences
- By the laws of probability, the culprit was most likely an obnoxious American tourist.
- Maybe even him, if he was strong enough, but more then likely the older females would fight.
- I explained it was most likely the blonde hair making my skin colour look different in contrast.
a likely story
- Used to express disbelief of an account or excuse: ‘She’s your lodger? A likely story!’More example sentences
- The Timaeus, however, presents itself not as serious cosmology but merely as a likely story, an example of the kind of account that Plato thinks is the right one to give; it is poetic and grandiose in style.
- Craccum: rehashing news from the Dominion Post on the legal action, and ignoring a likely story about why the University of Auckland was the best in the country - research wise at least.
- The gentleman told me his name was ‘John’, a likely story, I thought to myself and that it was his ‘sixth day at the gym’.
as likely as not
- Probably: I won’t take their pills, because as likely as not they’d poison meMore example sentences
- If you're passing a truck driver on the road today, give them a wave because as likely as not, they'll be mourning the death of a troubadour they called their own, Slim Dusty.
- But a speeding motorist can kill an innocent child, and as likely as not, they will only face a small fine, points on their licence ó if they have one ó and a short driving ban.
- References to almost every field of knowledge, from archaeology to zoology, are as likely as not to be wrong.
- More example sentences
- These questions address different aspects of confidence relating to the size of bribes, the possibility of additional requests, and the likeliness of opportunism.
- A final possibility centres around a likeliness that exercise success here was more due to the presence of fun and enjoyment, than the use of distraction.
- Yet another problem is the high degree of likeliness that a defendant possibly subject to the death penalty if found guilty will be found guilty.
Middle English: from Old Norse líkligr, from líkr (see like1).
In standard British English, when likely is used as an adverb it must be preceded by a submodifier such as very, most, or more, as in we will most likely see him later . In informal US English, use without a submodifier is very common and not regarded as incorrect, as in we will likely see him later .