Definition of possibility in English:



  • 1A thing that may happen or be the case.

    ‘the theoretical possibility of a chain reaction’
    [with clause] ‘there was always the possibility that he might be turned down’
    • ‘The two men discussed the possibility of staging a 1980s music show in Wiltshire.’
    • ‘There may be risks in some forms of exchange, but the possibility of exchange is always present.’
    • ‘There is always a possibility of unfairness and if a mistake is made nothing can be done about it.’
    • ‘Now I'm thinking about the possibility of spending a year volunteering abroad.’
    • ‘Maybe they were celebrating the possibility of their recognition as equal.’
    • ‘Accepting what you have and enjoying it, but always being open to the possibility of something better.’
    • ‘It was a hope I was holding onto, because the possibility of success was so attractive.’
    • ‘She had found a scratch-card which promised her the possibility of wealth beyond her tiny dreams.’
    • ‘You know how we've always talked about the possibility of something going wrong with the bomb.’
    • ‘I mean as well as the possibility of failure, there's also the chance of success that is just as heart racing.’
    • ‘Feeling remorse, there is always the possibility of applying the remedy to purify any wrong we have done.’
    • ‘Then we talked about the possibility of Amy writing a book for us - many years before she actually did.’
    • ‘Who can turn down the possibility of winning £1000 for what they do everyday anyway?’
    • ‘It transcends reality and opens up, for a moment, the possibility of a better life.’
    • ‘The question remains whether the possibility of any such system is dependent on the existence of language.’
    • ‘Originally a garden, by then the site was home to a large shed that had the possibility of being converted into a house.’
    • ‘Of course, students always have the possibility of getting a student bank account.’
    • ‘One might object that his account draws on the possibility of a merely possible world.’
    • ‘There was always the possibility of a change in personal or family fortune.’
    • ‘It was there he discovered the possibility of using steel as a sculptural medium.’
    chance, likelihood, probability, prospect, hope
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    1. 1.1The state or fact of being likely or possible; likelihood.
      ‘there was no possibility of recompense for him’
      • ‘Be alert to the possibility of rare but potentially serious underlying causes.’
      • ‘All serving members have considered the possibility of having someone shoot at them.’
      • ‘I'm investigating the possibility of consolidating my debts into my mortgage.’
      • ‘In such a case there is no possibility of double jeopardy and no risk of double recovery.’
      • ‘Try to find a quiet place that has no possibility of disturbance or interruption.’
      • ‘The radiation emitted is, as you say, miniscule - so small that there is no possibility of harm.’
      • ‘When women and men live in a society, the possibility of violations always exists.’
      • ‘Within minutes, the plane bombed the front and rear of the convoy, sealing off the possibility of escape.’
      • ‘This work is making the possibility of xenotransplants much closer than ever before.’
      • ‘There was no possibility of that site not contaminating the two streams and the harbour.’
      • ‘I want to look in to the possibility of a rooftop garden on the roof of our apartment parking garage.’
      • ‘It also had unconquered tribes with whom there was always the possibility of war.’
      • ‘At this stage his future is very much up in the air as is the possibility of him remaining a United player.’
      • ‘Because of his actions, he knows there can be no possibility of reconciliation.’
      • ‘But there was no possibility of that because racial subjugation was enforced by law.’
      • ‘There was always the possibility of getting shot if the clientele disapproved of the set list.’
      • ‘Because every time we did there was always the possibility of a major collision.’
      • ‘In soccer and boxing there is also the possibility of brain damage due to repeated blows to the head.’
      • ‘The Fenians always faced the possibility of being infiltrated by British spies.’
      • ‘At the moment the possibility of feedback is low, though the potential already exists.’
      feasibility, practicability, chances, odds, attainability, achievability, potentiality, conceivability, probability
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    2. 1.2A thing that may be chosen or done out of several possible alternatives.
      ‘one possibility is to allow all firms to participate’
      ‘there are three possibilities for obtaining extra money’
      • ‘Can you talk about how and why it was humanism that triumphed over alternative possibilities?’
      • ‘The obvious choice among these three possibilities is the first.’
      • ‘Choices and possibilities forked off in all directions, leading off into futures unknown.’
      • ‘Building a heavy rail link would prove much more costly, but would allow greater possibilities.’
      • ‘Out of all you could have become, out of all the possibilities your freedom allowed you, you chose this.’
      • ‘And this sort of self-expression does not require alternative possibilities.’
      • ‘Which alternative possibilities in the Third Reich were never even entertained as such by the leadership?’
      • ‘Which of all the uneliminated alternative possibilities may not properly be ignored?’
      • ‘Several spaghetti-based dishes are available, as well as a choice of pork possibilities.’
      • ‘All three possibilities might allow for high fitness of hybrids in a new environment.’
      • ‘He was not defensive, and prepared to admit alternative possibilities as possibilities.’
      • ‘Here is the opportunity to study, with an open mind, alternative possibilities.’
      • ‘It was curated to allow a range of possibilities to be seen together.’
      • ‘This was true even though an education by Catholic monks offered alternative possibilities.’
      • ‘An alternative to this possibility is for a midwife to be present at a hospital birth.’
      • ‘Another possibility would see extra cash given to bring down landing charges.’
      • ‘This theoretically allowed eight possibilities of their combination in address.’
      • ‘Rather, they are contested systems that allow competing possibilities to be realised.’
      • ‘It is because of this that we are able to see the hint of the possibilities of some real solutions.’
      option, alternative, choice, course of action, solution, recourse
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    3. 1.3Unspecified qualities of a promising nature; potential.
      ‘the house was old but it had possibilities’
      • ‘There, he realised his own potential and possibilities in working with wood and granite.’
      • ‘I seem to remember this sort of thing being one of the promised possibilities of stem cell research.’
      • ‘The potentialities and possibilities of the electronic medium have been put to use to achieve this end.’
      • ‘Obviously, our hopes have been bigger than the qualities and possibilities of these people.’
      • ‘One of the most promising possibilities is the developing of flour-based food products.’
      potential, potentiality, promise, prospects
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Late Middle English: from Old French possibilite, from late Latin possibilitas, from possibilis able to be done (see possible).