reasonable ground for a belief, as, in a criminal case, that the accused was guilty of the crime, or, in a civil case, that grounds for the action existed: used especially as a defense to an action for malicious prosecution.
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Origin of probable cause
First recorded in 1670–80
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for probable cause
law reasonable grounds for holding a belief, esp such as will justify bringing legal proceedings against a person or will constitute a defence to a charge of malicious prosecution
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