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[pos-uh-buh l] /ˈpɒs ə bəl/
that may or can be, exist, happen, be done, be used, etc.:
a disease with no possible cure.
that may be true or may be the case, as something concerning which one has no knowledge to the contrary:
It is possible that he has already gone.
Origin of possible
1300-50; Middle English < Latin possibilis that may be done, equivalent to poss(e) to be able (see posse) + -ibilis -ible
Related forms
nonpossible, adjective
Can be confused
possible, practicable, practical (see synonym study at the current entry; see synonym study at practical)
Synonym Study
1. Possible, feasible, practicable refer to that which may come about or take place without prevention by serious obstacles. That which is possible is naturally able or even likely to happen, other circumstances being equal: Discovery of a new source of plutonium may be possible. Feasible refers to the ease with which something can be done and implies a high degree of desirability for doing it: This plan is the most feasible. Practicable applies to that which can be done with the means that are at hand and with conditions as they are: We ascended the slope as far as was practicable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for possible
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • My hope is weak that I shall ever again see you, yet it is possible.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • The present, so, was more than any possible future, how dire soever it might be.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Ladies should have with them as much jewelry as possible, borrowed or otherwise.

  • He resolved to be as prudent as possible, and avoid, as far as he could, any altercation with Haley.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • He was as kind and obliging as it was possible to be in his circumstances.

British Dictionary definitions for possible


capable of existing, taking place, or proving true without contravention of any natural law
capable of being achieved: it is not possible to finish in three weeks
having potential or capabilities for favourable use or development: the idea is a possible money-spinner
that may or may not happen or have happened; feasible but less than probable: it is possible that man will live on Mars
(logic) (of a statement, formula, etc) capable of being true under some interpretation, or in some circumstances. Usual symbol: Mp or ◇p, where p is the given expression
another word for possibility (sense 3)
Usage note
Although it is very common to talk about something being very possible or more possible, these uses are generally thought to be incorrect, since possible describes an absolute state, and therefore something can only be possible or not possible: it is very likely (not very possible) that he will resign; it has now become easier (not more possible) to obtain an entry visa
Word Origin
C14: from Latin possibilis that may be, from posse to be able, have power
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for possible

mid-14c., from Old French possible and directly from Latin possibilis "that can be done," from posse "be able" (see potent).


1640s, from possible (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with possible
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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