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

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 Biden and Donald Trump have agreed to two debates on June 27 on CNN and Sept. 10 on ABC News, raising the likelihood of the earliest general-election debate in modern history. Maya King, New York Times, 18 May 2024 In a survey conducted by the Census Bureau, Asian Americans reported a lower likelihood of filling out the forms than other demographic groups, due in part to language barriers and a lack of communication about the purpose of the census form. Sandhya Kambhampati, Los Angeles Times, 16 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for likelihood 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'likelihood.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see likely entry 1

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near likelihood

Cite this Entry

“Likelihood.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


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

More from Merriam-Webster on likelihood

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