[ lahyk-lee ]
/ ˈlaɪk li /
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.
Words nearby likely
WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH likelyapt likely (see synonym study at apt) (see usage note at the current entry)
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. 2020
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