- probably or apparently destined (usually followed by an infinitive): something not likely to happen.
- seeming like truth, fact, or certainty; reasonably to be believed or expected; believable: a likely story.
- seeming to fulfill requirements or expectations; apparently suitable: a likely place for a restaurant.
- showing promise of achievement or excellence; promising: a fine, likely young man.
- probably: We will likely stay home this evening.
Origin of likely
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for likeliest
Pennsylvania, which just elected a Democratic governor, seems the likeliest candidate here.The GOP Could Make Obama Kill Obamacare
November 10, 2014
Of all the security teams Uber could have chosen, it managed to pick the one likeliest to get the company the most press.Can Rudy Giuliani Rescue Uber?
July 16, 2014
The largest bases—like Fort Hood—will also by size and circumstance be the likeliest targets for a shooter.Let’s Put Things in Perspective: You’re Still Safer on a Military Base
April 7, 2014
Plus, Michael Daly reports on the likeliest new suspects in the Kaufman County killings.What’s So Scary About the Texas Aryan Brotherhood? Take a Look at the Indictments
April 3, 2013
The likeliest outcome of the sequester fight for Republicans is yet another after yet another political defeat.Republicans Will Lose on the Sequester
February 20, 2013
The likeliest endings for the first two lines are tendre and fayre.The cforte of louers
I incline to this opinion, the likeliest of all in the absence of exact information.The Glow-Worm and Other Beetles
Jean Henri Fabre
In pursuance of this notion they resolved to watch the likeliest ports.The Strange Case of Mortimer Fenley
Quite the likeliest thing for him to do, only he didn't do it.The History of Sir Richard Calmady
This, according to present aspects, is between two the likeliest.History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XIV. (of XXI.)
- (usually foll by an infinitive) tending or inclined; aptlikely to rain
- probablea likely result
- believable or feasible; plausible
- appropriate for a purpose or activity
- having good possibilities of successa likely candidate
- dialect, mainly US attractive, agreeable, or enjoyableher likely ways won her many friends
- probably or presumably
- as likely as not very probably
Word Origin and History for likeliest
c.1300, perhaps from Old Norse likligr "likely," from likr "like" (see like (adj.)). Old English had cognate geliclic. Meaning "having the appearance of being strong and capable" is from mid-15c., though now mostly confined to American English; according to OED this sense is perhaps influenced by like (v.). Sense of "good-looking" is from late 15c. Meaning "probably" is attested from late 14c., now principally in American English.
LIKELY. That may be liked; that may please; handsome. In the United States, as a colloquial term, respectable; worthy of esteem; sensible.--Worcester. [Bartlett]
As an adverb, late 14c., from the adjective.