maximum likelihood


: a statistical method for estimating population parameters (such as the mean and variance) from sample data that selects as estimates those parameter values maximizing the probability of obtaining the observed data

Examples of maximum likelihood in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The maximum likelihood estimate of the heritability for height was 0.80 with no evidence for non-genetic causes of sib resemblance, consistent with results from independent twin and family studies but using an entirely separate source of information. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 24 Aug. 2011 The impact of these advances is huge, especially in research or clinical trials, where maximum likelihood of the right diagnosis is necessary. Scientific American, 13 Aug. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'maximum 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

First Known Use

1922, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of maximum likelihood was in 1922

Dictionary Entries Near maximum likelihood

Cite this Entry

“Maximum likelihood.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

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