un·​like·​ly | \ ˌən-ˈlī-klē How to pronounce unlikely (audio) \

Definition of unlikely

1 : not likely : improbable an unlikely outcome
2 : likely to fail : unpromising

Synonyms & Antonyms for unlikely



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Examples of unlikely in a Sentence

He was an unlikely candidate for the position. A big city seems like an unlikely place to find wildlife. I received support from an unlikely ally.
Recent Examples on the Web The recent increase in mortgage rates seems unlikely to reverse soon. Orla Mccaffrey And Sam Goldfarb, WSJ, 16 June 2022 That now seems unlikely to occur during a worsening drought. Tony Briscoestaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 11 June 2022 The government seems unlikely to present quite as much evidence of Schulte’s antisocial behavior this time. Patrick Radden Keefe, The New Yorker, 6 June 2022 But with the mainland still emerging from its worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic, that seems unlikely to happen anytime soon, holding up Hong Kong’s reopening to the rest of the world as well. Anisha Kukreja, NBC News, 5 June 2022 An assault weapons ban seems unlikely to advance in the Senate. BostonGlobe.com, 4 June 2022 An assault weapons ban seems unlikely to advance in the Senate. New York Times, 4 June 2022 There is always the chance that this is the beginning of a new leg of the bull market, but that seems unlikely. Lawrence Mcmillan, Forbes, 3 June 2022 That didn’t happen, and the post-credits delivered another event that seems unlikely to occur in a world where other superheroes exist. Chris Smith, BGR, 31 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unlikely.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of unlikely

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for unlikely

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for unlikely

Last Updated

18 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Unlikely.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unlikely. Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for unlikely


un·​like·​ly | \ ən-ˈlī-klē How to pronounce unlikely (audio) \
unlikelier; unlikeliest

Kids Definition of unlikely

1 : not likely an unlikely story
2 : not promising This is an unlikely place for fishing.

More from Merriam-Webster on unlikely

Nglish: Translation of unlikely for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unlikely for Arabic Speakers


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