Definition of probable in English:



  • [often with clause] Likely to happen or be the case.

    ‘it is probable that the economic situation will deteriorate further’
    ‘the probable consequences of his action’
    • ‘He did not consider erosion or corrosion as likely or probable causes.’
    • ‘‘It's possible and indeed quite probable that she stopped in there,’ he added.’
    • ‘The only recoverable losses were those which the public officer had foreseen as the probable consequence of his act.’
    • ‘The Environmental Protection Agency listed formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen in 1987.’
    • ‘The probable consequence of prosecuting pregnant women who use cocaine is that such women will try to avoid getting caught.’
    • ‘Thailand last week reported its first probable case of human-to-human transmission of the virus.’
    • ‘She plots every possible reaction to every probable action.’
    • ‘The crucial try in the 52nd minute that actually suggested an Irish win was more probable than possible and not just rhetoric came from one of his breaks.’
    • ‘Pregnancy is a possible consequence of sex and a probable consequence of unprotected sex.’
    • ‘I am letting my heart lead the way even when I know the possible and probable outcomes.’
    • ‘Charges, and probable arrest, were foreseen as the next step, but that hasn't happened yet.’
    • ‘It is also not very probable that his nomination would often be overruled.’
    • ‘It appears probable that similar subsidies will also play a large role on the Internet.’
    • ‘The possibility of a secret romance may appeal to you but you should consider what the probable consequences might be.’
    • ‘Although that scenario is not probable it is a possible area of conflict and frustration for the consumer.’
    • ‘How do they regard the social scientist: as potential friend or probable foe?’
    • ‘A more probable explanation for some injuries was that they were caused by blows and kicks.’
    • ‘Well of all the ways to end the day this had not been on my list of probable possibilities.’
    • ‘It's very probable that the same thing is going on in Indonesia now.’
    • ‘It is very probable that both teams will play a two-man full forward line, thus ensuring a high scoring game.’
    likely, most likely, odds-on, expected, to be expected, anticipated, predictable, foreseeable, ten to one, presumed, potential, credible, quite possible, possible, feasible
    on the cards, a fair bet, a good bet, a reasonable bet
    View synonyms


  • A person who is likely to become or do something, especially one who is likely to be chosen for a team.

    ‘Merson and Wright are probables’
    • ‘Only 400m hurdler Sinead Dudgeon, assuming she maintains her 1999 form, can be regarded as a probable to make the journey.’
    • ‘Khan said probables for the Pakistan team will play three four-day warm-up matches to prepare for the England series.’
    • ‘The selectors today had a look at the probables as they played a match among themselves in the six-day final camp for the Asia Cup.’
    • ‘Even in the list of 36 probables for the training camp, only two Mumbai players have figured!’
    • ‘He was in the list of the probables for the Indian team for four years and was finally selected to represent the country while he was pursuing medicine in Thanjavur Medical College in 1985.’
    • ‘O'Connor, who took this prize four years ago, is among three probables from Henderson's team.’
    • ‘They now rank as probables for the senior panels.’
    • ‘He also underlined that too much fuss should not be created over the teams and probables selected on Sunday.’
    • ‘Ideally, the coach should have watched the knockout stages of all these tournaments before deciding on the probables list.’
    • ‘The beefy 22-year-old went through the motions with the Indian hockey team probables at the Army Public School ground at Daghshai on Monday.’
    • ‘Moreover, one doubts whether he has ever had any interaction on hockey matters with the present set of probables.’
    • ‘For a few days in late June/early July, an unusual group was deputed for commando training - the 28 probables of India's national hockey team.’
    • ‘For the record, he represented India in six ‘Tests’ between 1962 and 66 as left-half and was even amongst the probables for the 1960 Rome Olympics.’
    • ‘‘We've a confidential list of probables, possibles and maybes in terms of medals,’ confides Donnelly.’
    • ‘The national team probables had a rest day on Monday after hectic training sessions for four days in a stretch.’
    • ‘You have some teams listing players as probables late in the week, and then they don't play on Sunday.’
    • ‘The federation has also decided to replace three players from the list of Olympic probables.’
    • ‘After the Bangalore camp, the selectors had dropped four probables and pruned the list to 20.’
    • ‘She was immediately selected as one among the 18 probables for the Kerala team.’
    • ‘According to Pakistan Cricket Board sources, Azhar may well join the Asia Cup probables camp starting here on Monday.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘worthy of belief’): via Old French from Latin probabilis, from probare to test, demonstrate.