prob·​a·​ble | \ ˈprä-bə-bəl How to pronounce probable (audio) , ˈprä(b)-bəl \

Definition of probable

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : supported by evidence strong enough to establish presumption but not proof a probable hypothesis
2 : establishing a probability probable evidence
3 : likely to be or become true or real probable outcome



Definition of probable (Entry 2 of 2)

: one that is probable

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Examples of probable in a Sentence

Adjective It is probable that life exists outside of our planet. the counselor could find no probable reason for the girl's bizarre actions
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Other counties’ dashboards show active case trends since March 2020 and have weekly reports that include vaccination rates at the city level, probable cases and local hospitalization rates. Dallas News, 8 Sep. 2021 The state Health Department includes probable cases as anyone with a positive antigen test, another type of test to determine infection. Alison Steinbach, The Arizona Republic, 3 Sep. 2021 Information on how many of the people ever hospitalized and placed on ventilators were considered probable cases wasn't available from the Health Department on Wednesday. Andy Davis, Arkansas Online, 2 Sep. 2021 In all, 26% of the 335 campers and staff members got confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, according to the CDC report. Lisa Schencker,, 31 Aug. 2021 The state has also reported 113,031 probable cases and 1,290 probably deaths, for a cumulative total of 1,054,709 cases and 21,520 deaths. Free Press Staff, Detroit Free Press, 28 Aug. 2021 Of the new cases, 3,332 were confirmed and 248 were probable. Tom Steele, Dallas News, 24 Aug. 2021 For example, Washington officials knew by the spring of 1940 that war with Japan was probable in the near-to-medium term, as Tokyo was increasingly likely to respond to the effects of US sanctions by going on the offensive. Jonathan Stevenson, The New York Review of Books, 3 Aug. 2021 The sky survey will also need to extend over a period of time long enough for the detection of UAP to be probable. Avi Loeb, Scientific American, 2 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Meanwhile, Illinois public health officials on Thursday reported 1,542 new probable and confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 42 deaths. Chicago Tribune Staff,, 21 May 2021 Brooklyn Strong is still a possible rather than a probable. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, 26 Apr. 2021 The Ohio Department of Health’s total of additional probable and confirmed cases of COVID-19 is the most ever recorded on one day. Randy Ludlow, The Enquirer, 10 July 2020 During the Battle of Britain, the Squadron was credited with 126 enemy aircraft destroyed, 13 probables, and nine damaged., 8 Nov. 2019 The Dodgers’ pitching probables for the three-game weekend series against the San Francisco Giants remains incomplete. Los Angeles Times, 4 Sep. 2019 But, with a week-and-a-half to go, here’s a look at the probables for the race, courtesy of racing secretary David Jerkens. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, 8 Aug. 2019 Absent from this weekend’s probables are all-stars Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler, each of whom logged an inning in the All-Star game. Jorge Castillo,, 11 July 2019 With two other youngsters, Luis Perdomo and Dinelson Lamet, seemingly the only probables for next year’s rotation, the possibility of a deal to return to San Diego appears distinct. Dennis Lin,, 15 Sep. 2017

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1638, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for probable


Middle English, from Latin probabilis commendable, probable, from probare to test, approve, prove — more at prove

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Time Traveler for probable

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

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Dictionary Entries Near probable



probable cause

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Statistics for probable

Last Updated

11 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Probable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for probable



English Language Learners Definition of probable

: likely to happen or to be true but not certain


prob·​a·​ble | \ ˈprä-bə-bəl How to pronounce probable (audio) \

Kids Definition of probable

: reasonably sure but not certain of happening or being true : likely

More from Merriam-Webster on probable

Nglish: Translation of probable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of probable for Arabic Speakers


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