like·​li·​hood | \ˈlī-klē-ˌhu̇d \

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

The filing by the Trustee increases the likelihood that the judge that oversaw the Alpha case will move to reopen it. Tom Corrigan, WSJ, "U.S. Watchdog Says McKinsey Misled Bankruptcy Court," 30 Nov. 2018 Stronger winds aloft will also increase the likelihood of severe weather, including heavy downpours. Tom Skilling,, "Pleasant Monday belies impending storm threat," 25 June 2018 Beyond finger feel, the shorter travel distance also increased the likelihood that trapped grit—even small particles of dust—could lodge in place, preventing a key or keys from working. Glenn Fleishman, Fortune, "Apple Admits to Sticky MacBook Pro Keyboards, Will Fix Them for Free," 22 June 2018 But Trump’s recent actions in the region have increased the likelihood that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will summarily reject the framework. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Under Trump, Americans are becoming more supportive of immigration," 22 June 2018 Each successive traumatic experience increases children’s likelihood of experiencing psychological problems. Heather Souvaine Horn, The New Republic, "An essential reading list for World Refugee Day.," 20 June 2018 Badica explained that while performing CPR on someone who’s stopped breathing can increase the likelihood of that person’s ultimate survival by 92%, many bystanders are reluctant to intervene. Sara Cardine,, "Locals get refresher course, life-saving tips at ‘Sidewalk CPR’ event," 14 June 2018 Advocates fear that the new shift in policy will increase the likelihood that more migrant parents will be deported without their children. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "Are migrant parents being deported without their kids?," 9 June 2018 Two copies of the gene increase the likelihood by as much as 12 times. Cincinnati Enquirer,, "3 promising new developments in Alzheimer’s and dementia research," 5 June 2018

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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Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

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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 \

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).


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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