likely

adjective
like·ly | \ˈlī-klē \
likelier; likeliest

Definition of likely 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having a high probability of occurring or being true : very probable rain is likely today

2 : apparently qualified : suitable a likely place

3 : reliable, credible a likely enough story

4 : promising a likely candidate

5 : attractive a likely child

likely

adverb

Definition of likely (Entry 2 of 2)

: in all probability : probably those who seek power will most likely wind up exercising it— Halton Arp

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Examples of likely in a Sentence

Adjective

That seems to be the most likely explanation. This looks like a likely spot for a picnic. They regard him as a likely candidate for the job.

Adverb

He'll very likely be late. “Will it rain tomorrow?” “Most likely.”
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Respondents from cities chose tech giants, like Microsoft, Alphabet (Google), and Apple most often, while the answers from rural regions were more likely to be shipping or manufacturing companies like UPS, FedEx, and Boeing. Grace Donnelly, Fortune, "These Are the Fortune 500 Companies Loved by Both Urban and Rural America," 11 July 2018 Some of the proposals are likely to be hard for the district to swallow, though. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "Chamber calls for nearly $500M in IPS cuts in exchange for support of $100M tax hike," 11 July 2018 But the big draw is likely to be the second-story patio, overlooking the Village's new streetscape. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Dining patios proliferate around Milwaukee; a look at some new ones for 2018," 10 July 2018 Then, the New Zealand's government must decide whether to extradite Dotcom and his colleagues—which seems likely, given the amount of effort the government has put into the case. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "NZ court rules Kim Dotcom can be extradited to US on copyright charges," 5 July 2018 But López Obrador certainly doesn’t seem any more likely than Peña Nieto to concede to that demand. Washington Post, BostonGlobe.com, "Mexico’s next president thinks Donald Trump is ‘erratic and arrogant’," 2 July 2018 That number is likely to jump in the wake of the Missouri jury’s decision, said Elizabeth Burch, a University of Georgia law professor who teaches about mass-tort law. Jef Feeley And Margaret Cronin Fisk, BostonGlobe.com, "Johnson & Johnson’s $4.69 billion talc verdict may open floodgates to more suits," 14 July 2018 That much is likely to change, barring a collapse on Sunday. Andrew Seligman, chicagotribune.com, "Defending champ Scott McCarron joins tie for Senior Players lead at Exmoor," 14 July 2018 If data on Generation Z proves true, this trend is likely to continue. Ashley May, USA TODAY, "Middle children are going extinct because Millennials don't want three children anymore," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Weaknesses: The quarterback position is up in the air and a replacement for starter Josh Rosen most likely won’t be decided until preseason camp. Matt Murschel, OrlandoSentinel.com, "New coach Chip Kelly’s UCLA Bruins are No. 45 in 2018 preseason college football rankings," 13 July 2018 Nissan and General Motors are likely to hit the limit soon. Jack Stewart, WIRED, "The Terrible Timing of Tesla's Expiring $7,500 Tax Credit," 12 July 2018 After a wild summer race at Daytona International Speedway, there are likely a few drivers not terribly pleased with each other. Michelle R. Martinelli, For The Win, "How Ricky Stenhouse Jr. infuriated both Kyle and Kurt Busch in NASCAR race," 11 July 2018 After her resignation, Maude told CNN she likely won't return to the pageant world. Serena Sonoma, Teen Vogue, "MeToo Joke Prompts Miss Massachusetts Contestant to Resign," 9 July 2018 The 24-year-old will likely return to a starter role with Norfolk. Eduardo A. Encina, baltimoresun.com, "Early Orioles notes: David Hess optioned to Triple-A Norfolk; third-round pick Blaine Knight signs," 6 July 2018 The 6-2 Little likely will return as a starter perhaps with 6-5 rookie Marie Gulich as the backup. Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral, "Phoenix Mercury starting power forward Sancho Lyttle out with season-ending knee injury," 2 July 2018 For the Democrats, six of the 10 current members will likely be returning, pending the final certification of results from the primary. Staff Report, The Aegis, "Harford central committees will have new, several old faces," 2 July 2018 Hospitals and primary care doctors are more likely now than even a few years ago to screen for opioid addiction. Terry Demio, Cincinnati.com, "Medicaid spending on opioid treatment soars in Ohio, auditor reports," 26 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'likely.' 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 likely

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for likely

Adjective

Middle English, from Old English gelīclic fitting (from gelīc like) and Old Norse glīkligr, līkligr, from glīkr like; akin to Old English gelīc

Adverb

see likely entry 1

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Statistics for likely

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for likely

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

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More Definitions for likely

likely

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of likely

 (Entry 1 of 2)

—used to indicate the chance that something will happen

: seeming to be true

: seeming to be right or suited for a purpose

likely

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of likely (Entry 2 of 2)

: without much doubt

likely

adjective
like·ly | \ˈlī-klē \
likelier; likeliest

Kids Definition of likely

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : very possibly going to happen That glass is likely to fall.

2 : seeming to be the truth : believable That is the most likely explanation.

3 : giving hope of turning out well : promising They found a likely spot for a picnic.

likely

adverb

Kids Definition of likely (Entry 2 of 2)

: without great doubt She will likely be elected class president.

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More from Merriam-Webster on likely

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for likely

Spanish Central: Translation of likely

Nglish: Translation of likely for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of likely for Arabic Speakers

Comments on likely

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