[ prob-uh-blee ]
/ ˈprɒb ə bli /
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in all likelihood; very likely: He will probably attend.
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Origin of probably

First recorded in 1525–35; probable + -ly
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does probably mean?

Probably means most likely or in all likelihood.

Probably is the adverb form of the adjective probable, meaning “very likely to occur or be true.” Probably is used when you think something will happen or turn out to be true, but you’re not certain enough to say it definitely will.

Example: My flight will probably arrive within the next few hours, but I can’t guarantee it.

Where does probably come from?

Probably came into popular use in the 1520s. It is formed from the word probable and the suffix -ly, which is used to make it into an adverb. Probable comes from the Latin probābilis, which means “likely,” “literally,” or “capable of standing a test,” and is equivalent to the verb probā(re) “to test.” This word gives us both probe and prove.

Probably is commonly used to express that you think something is likely to happen (as in He’ll probably be late) or could prove to be true (as in It probably costs more than that, so you should bring some extra money to be safe). In all cases, it implies that you’re not 100 percent sure. It’s stronger than maybe, but it still indicates doubt. It’s very rarely used with a negative or as part of a question. However, it can be used as a sentence substitute, meaning it can take the place of a full sentence to answer a question, as in Have you learned all you need to know about this word? Probably.

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What are some other forms related to probably?

  • probable (adjective)
  • quasiprobably (adverb)

What are some synonyms for probably?

What are some words that share a root or word element with probably


What are some words that often get used in discussing probably?

How is probably used in real life?

Probably is most commonly used in cases where you’re confident that something will happen or turn out to be true, but you can’t say for sure.



Try using probably!

Is probably used correctly in the following sentence?

I’ll probably fall asleep on the couch tonight.

How to use probably in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for probably

/ (ˈprɒbəblɪ) /

(sentence modifier; not used with a negative or in a question) in all likelihood or probabilityI'll probably see you tomorrow
sentence substitute
I believe such a thing or situation may be the case
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