prob·​a·​ble | \ ˈprä-bə-bəl, 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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of probable in a Sentence


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

Such a hostile reaction is only more probable given that the United States is likely to not only vociferously defend the Netanyahu government but also to seek satisfaction in marginalizing the ICC. Mark Kersten, Washington Post, "Can the International Criminal Court investigate the violence in Gaza?," 17 May 2018 An additional person had a probable case of food poisoning. Betsy Mckay, WSJ, "Sick Emirates Passengers Test Positive For Common Viruses," 6 Sep. 2018 The ministry noted 30 probable Ebola cases in the new outbreak and said another 33 suspected cases were under investigation, with laboratory testing underway. Al-hadji Kudra Maliro, The Seattle Times, "Congo health ministry preps for possible Ebola vaccinations," 6 Aug. 2018 The ministry noted 30 probable Ebola cases in the new outbreak and said another 33 suspected cases were under investigation, with laboratory testing underway. Fox News, "Ebola outbreak in Congo grows; at least 3 killed," 5 Aug. 2018 There are also 21 other probable cases and 10 suspected cases. Alexandra Sifferlin, Time, "Ebola Outbreak in Congo Is Not Yet a Global Emergency, WHO Says," 18 May 2018 Connecticut authorities recorded 2,022 cases of confirmed or probable cases of Lyme disease in the state during 2017, according to recent statistics — almost 300 more reported cases than in 2016. Gregory B. Hladky,, "Tick Season Is Here, But Precautions Can Cut Disease Risks," 4 May 2018 Alaska's mumps outbreak began in May. As of Feb. 15, 214 confirmed and 33 probable cases of mumps had been identified. Laurel Andrews, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska updates vaccine guidelines as mumps outbreak swells with over 200 cases," 21 Feb. 2018 The daughter and mother were reportedly in a physical fight that ended in Hardin’s death, according to a probable-cause affidavit. Jerzy Shedlock, The Seattle Times, "‘This is not OK’: Clark County Indigent Defense Office needs more attorneys for serious, time-consuming cases," 27 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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,, "After being released in August, Lyles looking forward to facing Rockies," 15 Sep. 2017 Follow this page for updates, pitching probables and more. Richard Morin, azcentral, "Game Day: Diamondbacks meet the Padres for first time in 2018," 19 Apr. 2018 The Tigers’ probables are Francisco Liriano on Tuesday, Matthew Boyd on Wednesday and Jordan Zimmermann on Thursday … Both Orioles and Red Sox players wore No. Eduardo A. Encina,, "Orioles notes: Right-hander David Hess recalled from Triple-A, Hart optioned," 15 Apr. 2018 Pitching probables for the series: 7 p.m. Friday – JSU RHP Garrett Farmer (1-0, 2.70 ERA) vs. FIU RHP Tyler Myrick (1-0, 0.00 ERA) Never miss a local story. miamiherald, "FIU baseball opens three-game series against Jacksonville State on Friday | Miami Herald," 1 Mar. 2018 Here are the lineup and pitching probables: Lineup: Delino DeShields, cf; Rougned Odor, dh; Jurickson Profar, ss; Nomar Mazara, rf; Ronald Guzman, 1b; Drew Robinson, lf; Brett Nicholas, c; Christian Lopes, 3b; Hanser Alberto, 2b. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Chavez has respect of Rangers brass despite role in dust-up with Blue Jays | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 23 Feb. 2018 Also, check out probables for the San Diego series this weekend. Andrew Baggarly, The Mercury News, "Giants lineup: Denard Span remains sidelined vs. Diamondbacks," 5 Apr. 2017 A’s probables: RHP Chris Smith, RHP Liam Hendrix, LHP Ross Detwiler. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post, "Antonio Senzatela, Greg Holland, Jason Motte struggle on mound in Rockies’ loss," 18 Mar. 2017 Rockies probables: RHP Jon Gray, RHP Adam Ottavino, RHP Scott Oberg, LHP Mike Dunn, LHP Jerry Vasto. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post, "Antonio Senzatela, Greg Holland, Jason Motte struggle on mound in Rockies’ loss," 18 Mar. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about probable

Statistics for probable

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for probable

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

Kids Definition of probable

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on probable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for probable

Spanish Central: Translation of probable

Nglish: Translation of probable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of probable for Arabic Speakers

Comments on probable

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


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!