like·​li·​hood | \ ˈlī-klē-ˌhu̇d How to pronounce likelihood (audio) \

Definition of likelihood

: the chance that something will happen : probability There's very little likelihood of that happening. [=that is very unlikely to happen] changes that in all likelihood will be made soon [=changes that are very likely to be made soon] … a strong likelihood that he is correct …— T. D. Anderson The likelihood of instability might increase because of the economic crisis.— Fareed Zakaria … could reduce the likelihood of a fire in their convenience store by banning smoking in their building …— Harriet E. Jones et al.

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Synonyms & Antonyms for likelihood



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Examples of likelihood in a Sentence

There is a strong likelihood that he will be reelected. the weatherman on TV said that the likelihood of rain today was fairly high
Recent Examples on the Web Investigators said there is a strong likelihood Ruffo is living overseas. Fox News, 7 Oct. 2021 If a salesperson is honest with his client, there is a high likelihood of closing a deal and creating a long-term relationship for future deals. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 5 Oct. 2021 There is a likelihood that Eric will decide not to attend., 22 Sep. 2021 There is a likelihood that Eric will decide not to attend. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, 22 Sep. 2021 They had been told by other migrants, compatriots and family members who had gone before them that once in custody, there was a high likelihood they would be released. Washington Post, 20 Sep. 2021 Keeping the current $3 million cap on the current bariatric program, although history indicates there is a low likelihood of surpassing the cap. Michael R. Wickline, Arkansas Online, 17 Sep. 2021 Two decades later, the greatest tragedy for the United States is the likelihood that another terrorist attack on US soil would further divide the country. Ian Bremmer, Time, 2 Sep. 2021 Perhaps the biggest Senate advantage the Democrats will have in 2022 is the likelihood of divisive Republican primaries in battleground states. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 16 Aug. 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for likelihood

see likely entry 1

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Time Traveler for likelihood

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The first known use of likelihood was in the 15th century

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Statistics for likelihood

Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Likelihood.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of likelihood

: the chance that something will happen


like·​li·​hood | \ ˈlī-klē-ˌhu̇d How to pronounce likelihood (audio) \

Kids Definition of likelihood

: probability sense 1 In all likelihood we will go.

More from Merriam-Webster on likelihood

Nglish: Translation of likelihood for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of likelihood for Arabic Speakers


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