Dictionary.com

likely

[ lahyk-lee ]
/ ˈlaɪk li /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: likely / likelier on Thesaurus.com

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.
adverb
probably: We will likely stay home this evening.
QUIZ
QUIZ YOURSELF ON AFFECT VS. EFFECT!
In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

Origin of likely

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English likli, from Old Norse līkligr; see like1, -ly

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. 2022

How to use likely in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for likely

likely
/ (ˈlaɪklɪ) /

adjective
adverb
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
FEEDBACK