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


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

One probable outcome is that the exchange rate will become more volatile. The Economist, "China’s vanished current-account surplus will change the world economy," 17 May 2018 The relationships of events and their probable outcomes were overviewed with objective clarity. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, "Black Ice, Near-Death, and Transcendence on I-91," 2 Apr. 2018 So on to a longer speculation on the speech’s probable effects on Mr. Trump’s prospects for re-election. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "Trump Flipped the Opposition," 6 Feb. 2019 The story drew attention across the country, from The Los Angeles Times to The New York Times: The demise of the decades-old, Tony Award-winning theater looked not just possible, but probable. Brendan Kiley, The Seattle Times, "Intiman and ACT theaters finally debt-free after years of belt-tightening and generosity from others," 22 Jan. 2019 The outbreak, which has been going on since August, has so far resulted in 467 confirmed cases and a further 48 probable cases. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Ebola outbreak reaches city of 1 million residents," 14 Dec. 2018 Castillo was signed to a two-year, $15 million contract with a third-year option as a probable upgrade. Phil Rogers,, "White Sox catchers Kevan Smith, Omar Narvaez step up with Welington Castillo suspended," 12 July 2018 The suggestion is that he, Alex Sandro and Daniele Rugani will all be sold to help finance the deal, with Chelsea a probable destination for the central defender and a possible one for the Argentinian. Jonathan Wilson,, "Cristiano Ronaldo's Transfer Has Seismic Impact at Real Madrid, Juventus, Beyond," 10 July 2018 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

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.

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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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Statistics for probable

Last Updated

11 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for probable

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

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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

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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).


likely to have or produce good results

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