Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

The Best Internet Slang

unlikely

[uhn-lahyk-lee] /ʌnˈlaɪk li/
adjective, unlikelier, unlikeliest.
1.
not likely to be or occur; improbable; marked by doubt.
2.
holding little prospect of success; unpromising; likely to fail:
He is an unlikely candidate for reelection.
3.
not ingratiating; objectionable.
adverb
4.
in an unlikely way.
Origin of unlikely
1325-1375
First recorded in 1325-75, unlikely is from the Middle English word unlikli. See un-1, likely
Related forms
unlikeliness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for unlikely
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The arrangements your father has made is one of provision against the unlikely.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • Such a proceeding was not unlikely; it was not, however, the one she adopted.

  • Diligent enquiry there, in likely and unlikely places, proved fruitless.

    The Inn at the Red Oak Latta Griswold
  • At this time he is not unlikely to eat our sprouting lettuce and peas.

    The Meaning of Evolution Samuel Christian Schmucker
  • Of course there was a chance that he might encounter the latter, but he thought it unlikely.

    Fair Harbor

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln
British Dictionary definitions for unlikely

unlikely

/ʌnˈlaɪklɪ/
adjective
1.
not likely; improbable
Derived Forms
unlikeliness, unlikelihood, noun
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for unlikely
adj.

late 14c., "not likely to occur," from un- (1) + likely. Cf. Old Norse ulikligr, Middle Danish uligelig. Meaning "not likely to be true" is recorded from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with unlikely

unlikely

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for unlikely

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for unlikely

15
18
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for unlikely