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prob·​a·​ble ˈprä-bə-bəl How to pronounce probable (audio)
: supported by evidence strong enough to establish presumption but not proof
a probable hypothesis
: establishing a probability
probable evidence
: likely to be or become true or real
probable outcome


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: one that is probable

Example Sentences

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
Each of these shareowner interventions shares the same broad cause and effect: in every case, shareowners imposed some short-term cost in exchange for more probable, long-term gains. Terrence Keeley, Fortune, 17 Oct. 2022 Lose here and a bowl game seems improbable and three-or-four-win season seems more probable. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, 15 Oct. 2022 The statistical scarcity of serial killers makes their stories a safer scare than banal – but more probable – everyday terrors. Sara Stewart, CNN, 7 Oct. 2022 Showers and storms become more probable areawide during the evening and some could be intense, producing a few pockets of flooding. Jason Samenow, Washington Post, 12 Sep. 2022 The more probable scenario would have been to wait for his release. Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug. 2022 The more probable merger would be between the ACC and the Pac-12. Kevin Reynolds, The Salt Lake Tribune, 19 July 2022 The chart above shows rare, bullish divergences in the chart which would point towards $450 being more probable than a break in support at $115. Beth Kindig, Forbes, 24 June 2022 Nevertheless, Tertrais believes a progressive material and moral collapse of the Russian effort remains more probable, given Russian troops’ low morale and Ukraine’s general mobilization., 4 June 2022
The reproach went deeper: contemporary fiction was heir to an intellectual legacy that valued the probable over the improbable, the steady norm over the turbulent exception, and so was unsuited even to conceiving the scale of the crisis. Aaron Matz, The New York Review of Books, 6 July 2022 The Brewers have announced Aaron Ashby will start one of the games in their Memorial Day doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs but have yet to officially list their other probable. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 29 May 2022 Hope Sharon Kennedy, who’s a complete shill for the probable can party. Laura Johnston, cleveland, 26 May 2022 The report, released Monday, shows 484 students and staff in Macomb County schools with new probable or confirmed cases of the virus linked to outbreaks or clusters during the week of Oct. 7-14. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, 20 Oct. 2021 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 See More

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.

Word History



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

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1638, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near probable

Cite this Entry

“Probable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



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

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