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 long-term challenge will be making sure growers use a mixed-bag approach to reduce the likelihood that weeds will eventually mutate their way toward being able to feast on phosphite. Lynn Brezosky, San Antonio Express-News, "A&M cotton research could open new front in war on weeds," 5 July 2018 On the other hand, the same force that makes an actual war between China and the U.S. unlikely — the profound interdependence of their national economies — also reduces the likelihood of an extended trade war. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "On Eve of Trade War, China Warns That Trump’s Tariffs Will Backfire," 5 July 2018 County Executive Allan Kittleman last year announced $18 million in long-term work upstream on the Patapsco River to slow the flow of water and, officials hope, reduce the likelihood of another flash flood. Luke Broadwater,, "It could cost $85 million to make Ellicott City safer from flooding — but that still wouldn't eliminate the threat. Should the historic town be rebuilt?," 1 June 2018 Putting details of the Trump-Cohen relationship in the public domain might be an attempt to reduce the likelihood that Trump perjures himself if he is asked about his fixer while under oath. Jay Willis, GQ, "What the Hell Is Rudy Giuliani Doing?," 3 May 2018 Patients may be given loperamide (Imodium) to reduce the likelihood of a bowel movement. Kim Campbell Thornton, sacbee, "‘Re-poopulation’ could become a valuable tool in animal care | The Sacramento Bee," 25 Apr. 2018 O'Brien added that The Revollusionists didn't violate trademarks and trade dress infringement because of a lack of evidence establishing likelihood of confusion among consumers. Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "Magician Makes Morals Clause Disappear in $2.6 Million Arbitration Win," 23 May 2018 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

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

13 Oct 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

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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