im·prob·a·ble | \(ˌ)im-ˈprä-bə-bəl, -ˈpräb-bəl\

Definition of improbable 

: unlikely to be true or to occur also : unlikely but real or true

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Other Words from improbable

improbability \(ˌ)im-ˌprä-bə-ˈbi-lə-tē \ noun
improbably \(ˌ)im-ˈprä-bə-blē, -ˈpräb-blē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for improbable


doubtful, dubious, far-fetched, flimsy, questionable, unapt, unlikely


likely, probable

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Examples of improbable in a Sentence

The team made an improbable comeback. it seems improbable that the two writers never met since they traveled in the same social circles

Recent Examples on the Web

Commercial records were set, monocles popped out, and Twenty One Pilots emerged from the Blurryface cycle improbable, yet unquestioned, superstars. Chris Payne, Billboard, "Twenty One Pilots Sound Unconcerned With Pop Success on New Songs (Though 'Trench' Might Be Huge Anyway)," 11 July 2018 Like Elon Musk setting up a fully functional production tent in the Tesla’s factory’s backyard, in a improbable—and thus far successful!—bid to hit his 2018 production targets. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "This Week in the Future of Cars: Lofty Goals, Raw Ambition," 7 July 2018 Republican judges know that, too, which is why a flat-out repeal of Roe remains improbable. Jonathan Zimmerman, The New Republic, "Overturning Roe v. Wade Could Remake American Politics," 5 July 2018 And if the distance between those two high-water marks didn’t make Evans’s resurgence improbable enough, the many injuries in between should certainly do the trick. Rob Mahoney,, "Alternative NBA Awards: Inside-Basketball Honors to Highlight Underrated Facets of the Game," 10 Apr. 2018 Much of the meaning of his fleeting MU career will hinge on whether Mizzou prevails to play another day and take advantage of his improbable and at-times puzzling path to return from back surgery. Vahe Gregorian, kansascity, "Michael Porter Jr. and his father cast light on road back for Mizzou | The Kansas City Star," 15 Mar. 2018 These were the sounds that launched the improbable story of impossible odds involving a newborn elk that would earn a most obvious name. Scott Craven, azcentral, "Born of tragedy, newborn elk triumphs thanks to kindness of strangers," 12 July 2018 Even then, a full-fledged return to an era of back-alley, coat-hanger abortions seems improbable. New York Times, "Bulwark Against an Abortion Ban? Medical Advances," 1 July 2018 The path of the sociopolitical comedy from conception to the screen is an improbable story for the 47-year-old director. Peter Hartlaub,, "Rapper Boots Riley finds his place behind camera with ‘Sorry to Bother You’," 30 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'improbable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of improbable

1598, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for improbable

Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin improbabilis, from in- + probabilis probable

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Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for improbable

The first known use of improbable was in 1598

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More Definitions for improbable



English Language Learners Definition of improbable

: not probable : not likely to be true or to happen


im·prob·a·ble | \im-ˈprä-bə-bəl \

Kids Definition of improbable

: not likely : not probable improbable stories

Other Words from improbable

improbably \-blē \ adverb an improbably happy ending

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Comments on improbable

What made you want to look up improbable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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