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

Definition of likelihood

: probability a strong likelihood that he is correct— T. D. Anderson

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Synonyms & Antonyms for likelihood


liability, probability


improbability, unlikelihood, unlikeliness

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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

Of course, the likelihood of seeing such a creature in 2019 is pretty low, but Pachystruthio dmanisensis—a massive, ostrich-like bird—roamed Earth about 1.7 million years ago during the Pleistocene era. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "Just a Massive Ancient Bird the Size of a Polar Bear," 28 June 2019 The likelihood is that Williams had a labral issue while in college. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Jonah Williams’ shoulder injury likely predates time with Bengals," 26 June 2019 The likelihood of Libra’s adoption is even higher because the company’s fastest growth is international, and Libra is likely to be the most useful in countries where the local currency is hyperinflated or banking is unreliable. Molly Wood, WIRED, "Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency Betrays the Company’s True Ambitions," 26 June 2019 In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the likelihood of experiencing a first stroke is nearly twice as high for African Americans compared with whites. Jason Ashe, The Conversation, "Not all Americans have a fair path to a good death – racial disparities are real," 24 June 2019 So, if the latter is at 37, the likelihood is that the president will be underwater most, if not all, of the time. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Why Pelosi Continues to Deflect the Censure Gambit," 22 June 2019 The likelihood of serious harm if a person contracts measles is much greater than the chance of being injured from the measles vaccine, data shows. New York Times, "Vaccine Injury Claims Are Few and Far Between," 18 June 2019 The likelihood of you or a family member falling ill with an infection caused by flesh-eating bacteria is low. Maggie O'neill,, "Flesh-Eating Bacteria on New Jersey Beaches Are Rising Because of Climate Change—What You Need to Know," 18 June 2019 Be Smart and Aware Just like with any other large festival or parade, the likelihood of something bad happening is low due to police presence and awesome volunteers—*but* erring on the side of caution is always the way to go, fam. Seventeen, "How to Prep For Your First Pride Parade," 14 June 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for likelihood

see likely entry 1

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Statistics for likelihood

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for likelihood

The first known use of likelihood was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for likelihood



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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Comments on likelihood

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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