like·​li·​hood | \ ˈlī-klē-ˌhu̇d How to pronounce likelihood (audio) \

Definition of likelihood

: the chance that something will happen : probability There's very little likelihood of that happening. [=that is very unlikely to happen] changes that in all likelihood will be made soon [=changes that are very likely to be made soon] … a strong likelihood that he is correct …— T. D. Anderson The likelihood of instability might increase because of the economic crisis.— Fareed Zakaria … could reduce the likelihood of a fire in their convenience store by banning smoking in their building …— Harriet E. Jones et al.

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Synonyms & Antonyms for likelihood



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Examples of likelihood in a Sentence

There is a strong likelihood that he will be reelected. the weatherman on TV said that the likelihood of rain today was fairly high
Recent Examples on the Web The University of Massachusetts has a very complete explanation of how this mushroom growth indicates severe internal decay within the trunk and great likelihood that the trunk will blow over in a windstorm sometime in the coming years. Neil Sperry,, "Neil Sperry: This mushroom is a sign of tree death," 8 Oct. 2020 The characteristics are contributing to an astonishing rate of intensification and the likelihood of catastrophic impact. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, "Hurricane Delta bears striking resemblance to Wilma, the Atlantic's most intense hurricane on record," 8 Oct. 2020 Models show the likelihood of someone carrying COVID-19 at an event the size of the Supreme Court announcement is more than 55%. Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY, "Pence responds to question about White House COVID outbreak, says admin. trusts people to make health choices," 8 Oct. 2020 The likelihood of people going out and spending is closely tied to how well the virus is contained, economists say, meaning that businesses being open may not be enough to revive commerce. Nihal Krishan, Washington Examiner, "Unemployed left with little recourse after Trump jobless aid expires," 7 Oct. 2020 Some conservatives said there was little use judging Mr. Pence’s likelihood of succeeding Mr. Trump as the leader of his movement, at least not with comparisons to a president unlike any in American history. Jeremy W. Peters, New York Times, "Mike Pence Brought Conservatives Home. What If They Don’t Need Him Anymore?," 7 Oct. 2020 The steepener trade has been a popular strategy amid the the Federal Reserve’s easy monetary policy and likelihood of more fiscal stimulus. Vivien Lou Chen,, "Credit Suisse Sees Blue Sweep as Dominating Market Narrative," 7 Oct. 2020 Guyton, a cancer survivor who was staying away from crowded places like grocery stores and farmers markets to limit the likelihood of contacting COVID-19, saw a need for a delivery service of farm-fresh products. Dana Mcmahan, The Courier-Journal, "Experience this abundant, virtual farmers market that brings the best of Louisville to you," 6 Oct. 2020 The likelihood that every team plays 16 games seems far less certain now. Star Tribune, "NFL's COVID-19 outbreak was inevitable, but a bubble is unrealistic," 5 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'likelihood.' 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 likelihood

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for likelihood

see likely entry 1

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Time Traveler for likelihood

Time Traveler

The first known use of likelihood was in the 15th century

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Statistics for likelihood

Last Updated

14 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Likelihood.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for likelihood


How to pronounce likelihood (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of likelihood

: the chance that something will happen


like·​li·​hood | \ ˈlī-klē-ˌhu̇d How to pronounce likelihood (audio) \

Kids Definition of likelihood

: probability sense 1 In all likelihood we will go.

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