[ uhn-lahyk-lee ]
/ ʌnˈlaɪk li /

adjective, un·like·li·er, un·like·li·est.

not likely to be or occur; improbable; marked by doubt.
holding little prospect of success; unpromising; likely to fail: He is an unlikely candidate for reelection.
not ingratiating; objectionable.


in an unlikely way.

Origin of unlikely

First recorded in 1325–75, unlikely is from the Middle English word unlikli. See un-1, likely

Related forms

un·like·li·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unlikely

British Dictionary definitions for unlikely


/ (ʌnˈlaɪklɪ) /


not likely; improbable

Derived Forms

unlikeliness or unlikelihood, noun
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

Idioms and Phrases with unlikely


see in the unlikely event.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.