[ lahyk-lee ]
/ ˈlaɪk li /
Save This Word!
adjective, like·li·er, like·li·est.
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.
OTHER WORDS FOR likely
CAN YOU ANSWER THESE COMMON GRAMMAR DEBATES?
There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?
Origin of likely
usage note for likely
Likely in the senses “probably destined” and “probably” is often preceded by a qualifying word like very, more, or quite: The board is very likely to turn down the request. The new system will quite likely increase profits. However, despite statements to the contrary in some usage guides, likely in these senses is standard without such a qualifier in all varieties of English: It will likely be a bitter debate. The shipment will likely arrive on Thursday. See also apt, liable.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use likely in a sentence
In 2004, Bush-Cheney voters were much likelier to believe their vote was counted accurately.Angry About Ferguson? Oppose Voter ID Laws|Jacob Lupfer|August 26, 2014|DAILY BEAST
He now appears likelier to repeat the mistakes of Iraq rather than learn from them.Add Reinhold Niebuhr to Romney's Ticket|Noah Kristula-Green|August 17, 2012|DAILY BEAST
However, after the struggle in Paris, Gano was convinced that London was the likelier place for him to find a footing.The Open Question|Elizabeth Robins
It was a crazy thing to attempt; he was much likelier to get under the pilot than to succeed; yet he tried it.The Nerve of Foley|Frank H. Spearman
The former seems the likelier interpretation, the destruction of the Swine being a fitting punishment for their owners.Bible Animals;|J. G. Wood
Who likelier to be a witness to such a will than the Prince's chaplain?She Stands Accused|Victor MacClure
An upset adolescent girl is a hell of a lot likelier to fake phenomena that produce them.The Syndic|C.M. Kornbluth
British Dictionary definitions for likely
/ (ˈlaɪklɪ) /
(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 for likely
C14: from Old Norse līkligr
usage for likely
Likely as an adverb is preceded by another, intensifying adverb, as in it will very likely rain or it will most likely rain. Its use without an intensifier, as in it will likely rain is regarded as unacceptable by most users of British English, though it is common in colloquial US English
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