im·​prob·​a·​ble | \ (ˌ)im-ˈprä-bə-bəl How to pronounce improbable (audio) , -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 How to pronounce improbability (audio) \ noun
improbably \ (ˌ)im-​ˈprä-​bə-​blē How to pronounce improbably (audio) , -​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

Even skeptics in the brain sciences—like David Eagleman, who balks at the idea of performing risky surgeries on otherwise healthy people—are glad that Musk and his cohort are attempting the improbable. Josh Wilbur, WIRED, "You Could Live Forever With This Sci-Fi Time Hack," 4 June 2019 Presidential politics has become the U.S.’s true national sport, and after the improbable Trump long shot, even obscure politicians think they... Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "So It’s Trump vs. Biden in 2020?," 8 May 2019 This choice—and the author’s scrupulous avoidance of the improbable twists and turns that characterized the plots of earlier romances—allowed her to explore instead the characters’ mental states in exquisite detail. Daniel Mendelsohn, Town & Country, "How Infidelity Helped Create the Novel," 2 May 2019 And a tip of the cap to the high morals of an angler who made an improbable find twice over. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Extraordinary musky fishing tale, verified and true, comes to happy ending," 11 July 2018 With Cristiano Ronaldo's improbable exit from Real Madrid to join Serie A giants Juventus looking ever more likely, Los Blancos are working behind the scenes to replace CR7 with some world-class talent., "Real Madrid Target Chelsea, Inter & Bayern Superstars as Options to Replace Cristiano Ronaldo," 8 July 2018 Iran nearly took an improbable lead when Sardar Azmoun got behind the defense on a counter and went in on goal. Victor Mather, New York Times, "After Morocco Own Goal, Iran Wins World Cup Slugfest," 16 June 2018 On Capitol Hill, blowback from the family separations has turned the improbable task of achieving immigration compromise to all but impossible. Bill Lambrecht, Houston Chronicle, "Immigration turmoil widens political divide, turns into political leverage," 22 June 2018 For 13 days in early 2015, four strangers based in San Francisco, New York and Tel Aviv took on the improbable task of getting Al Samawi out of Yemen. Karen Berkowitz,, "Highland Park grad plays key role in peace activist's escape from Yemen: 'This guy is going to die unless you do something'," 8 May 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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Statistics for improbable

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

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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 How to pronounce improbable (audio) \

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).


showing courage and determination

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