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

Witnesses are rarely called and no forensic evidence presented, raising the likelihood of innocent people going to the gallows. Hamza Hendawi, Washington Post, "A neighbor’s word can bring death sentence in Iraq IS trials," 9 July 2018 Witnesses are very rarely called and no forensic evidence presented, raising the likelihood of innocent people going to the gallows. Hamza Hendawi, Fox News, "A neighbor's word can bring death sentence in Iraq IS trials," 9 July 2018 Selling the likes of Barkley is now pivotal to keeping Loftus-Cheek, but the likelihood of this transpiring is extremely slim., "Why Chelsea's Plan to Loan Out England Star Ruben Loftus-Cheek Proves How Out of Touch the Board Are," 5 July 2018 Dejan Lovren raised the likelihood of Croatia resting players for its last group game against Iceland, as much to protect the six who are threatened by suspension via an accumulation of yellow cards than to rest anyone ahead the knockout stage. Steve Douglas,, "Croatia considering rotation in final match against Iceland," 24 June 2018 Get our daily newsletter His withdrawal raised the likelihood of an early election that could become a proxy referendum on euro membership. The Economist, "Political chaos in Italy as new elections beckon," 31 May 2018 Their primary victories raise the likelihood of women cracking the state’s all-male congressional delegation. New York Times, "Pennsylvania Primaries Deliver Strong Wins for Democratic Women," 15 May 2018 The controversy and scrutiny from lawmakers raise the likelihood that Facebook and Silicon Valley might be subjected to new regulation. David Pierson,, "Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to apologize for his company's mistakes during his Washington testimony," 9 Apr. 2018 Ryan's suggestions could raise the likelihood of Trump altering the proposal, especially given that Republicans likely do not want to appear at odds with a midterm election coming later this year. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, "Paul Ryan: Trump's steel, aluminum tariffs could hurt auto industry," 6 Mar. 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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Phrases Related to likelihood

in all likelihood

Statistics for likelihood

Last Updated

1 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for likelihood

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

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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

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an open space surrounded by woods

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