Definition of possibly in US English:



  • 1sentence adverb Perhaps (used to indicate doubt or hesitancy)

    ‘he found himself alone, possibly the only surviving officer’
    • ‘Only the bass line and six bars of melody had survived, possibly from the slow movement of a Trio Sonata.’
    • ‘Which possibly indicates that he thinks several of the top restaurant owners in Australia have criminal records.’
    • ‘Common sense would indicate that the substance possibly was baby powder from a diaper change.’
    • ‘These messages possibly indicated the presence of severe mental health issues.’
    • ‘I think the team they selected possibly indicated their own interest in the competition.’
    • ‘Miss Lewis says doctors have told her that her father now has a 50 per cent chance, possibly less, of surviving the horrific injuries.’
    • ‘It is part of a vernacular literature that goes back unbroken to the fifth or sixth century, possibly earlier, and survives to this day.’
    • ‘Nero, indeed, at one stage in his reign - possibly earlier, perhaps now - had been inclined to abandon Britain altogether.’
    • ‘A broken leg and nowhere to go, she could not possibly survive alone.’
    • ‘If the paper had not been prepared for such a situation, it would possibly not have survived.’
    • ‘The fact that he had none possibly indicated that he trusted his visitors.’
    • ‘Again the study of estrogen alone possibly preventing strokes continues.’
    • ‘He was clearly frightened, perhaps delirious and possibly even unaware of what was happening to him.’
    • ‘The similarity between the transition states is large, indicating that possibly only a part of path space is sampled.’
    • ‘Perhaps it's anxiety, perhaps asthma, perhaps heart and possibly thyroid.’
    • ‘In addition to posing a strain on relationships, it can also indicate a possibly dangerous and life-threatening disease.’
    • ‘Maybe the cold coffee had heightened my senses, or possibly because it was a nice day more people were requesting drinks involving the blender.’
    • ‘If it is, that would indicate that possibly the boy drowned in this pool.’
    • ‘He is now looking to diversify into tourism and possibly farming to survive until the ban is lifted.’
    perhaps, maybe, it could be, it may be, it is possible, it is conceivable, for all one knows, feasibly, very likely
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with modal Used in polite requests.
      ‘could you possibly pour me another cup of coffee?’
      • ‘Could I possibly come back just for one second because you did surprise me with going round that way?’
      • ‘She said that she was sorry for being late, and I tried to be as polite as I possibly could and told her that it was ok.’
      • ‘However could you possibly indicate in the next issue that the book is available in all good bookshops.’
      • ‘She said it so politely that there was no way I could possibly argue.’
      • ‘She tried to be as polite as she possibly could about matters without physically pushing away.’
      please, kindly, be so good as to
      View synonyms
  • 2usually with modal In accordance with what is likely or achievable.

    • ‘They get more e-mail than they can possibly read, let alone respond to appropriately.’
    • ‘Apparently, according to this report, I may be more likely to suffer from memory loss and possibly even brain shrinkage in my old age.’
    • ‘That, we would say, would be a very surprising result and one that the legislature could not possibly have intended.’
    • ‘Well, if I were able to get it published, I'd likely be arrested, possibly beaten, and probably imprisoned.’
    • ‘I rest easy knowing that we likely got everything we possibly could have gotten.’
    • ‘Men are possibly more likely to be unwilling to report it, and are much less likely to be believed if they do.’
    • ‘The increased scrutiny is likely to slow airport travel, possibly requiring airlines to curtail flights as the system is already taxed.’
    • ‘Nothing I could feel, no bewilderment or fright, could possibly match theirs.’
    • ‘Could there possibly be any truth to what he had said?’
    1. 2.1 Used to emphasize that something is difficult, surprising, or bewildering.
      ‘what can you possibly mean?’
      • ‘She read one sentence and could hardly believe that such abomination could possibly exist let alone be described.’
      • ‘But that move alone can't possibly be enough to account for the projected costs nearly doubling.’
      • ‘Even when it appears there's nothing more you could possibly deposit into a handkerchief, your body surprises you once again.’
      • ‘Who can possibly take a realistic overview of the CDs that pour from labels large, small, and smaller still?’
      • ‘In this the 21st century how can there possibly be any doubt as to the damage wrought by smoking and passive smoking?’
      • ‘James asks how we can possibly indicate the difference between what is known, inferred, or imagined in a reconstruction.’
      • ‘Her skin surprisingly was not dark, revealing she couldn't possibly be a native, not with blond hair and soft pale skin.’
      • ‘Could they possibly have been taken by such glaring, awful surprise?’
      • ‘What can they possibly achieve by taking kids hostage?’
      • ‘So, it cannot possibly come as a surprise when I got a message from an airline offering up a one day sale.’
      • ‘They doubted that he could possibly be looking for a pen in the dead of night.’
      • ‘Specifically, I was surprised that the article's author could possibly be so naive.’
      • ‘So why am I telling you all this, I hear you ask, ruining surprise as it quite possibly may?’
      • ‘According to political correspondents - and who could possibly doubt anything they would write?’
      • ‘A person who couldn't possibly have desires and doubts and unfulfilled longings.’
      • ‘Surprised, Indra asked how many Indras there could possibly have been.’
      • ‘But that it now exists, and that I am conscious of it - by me at least who am conscious of it this cannot possibly be doubted.’
      conceivably, under any circumstances, by any means, at all, in any way
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 Used to emphasize that someone has or will put all their effort into something.
      ‘be as noisy as you possibly can’
      • ‘During these sets, she works as hard as she possibly can, really emphasizing the negative phase of the movements.’
      • ‘It simply compromises on quality as piracy is all about quantity and reaping as much profits as possibly can from the tireless efforts of artists.’
      • ‘That determination to make yourself as good as you can possibly be and achieve as much as you can.’
      • ‘I really would have to say now that it is about consolidating and it is about avoiding relegation and trying to achieve the best we possibly can.’
      • ‘No conceivable counter-measures effort could possibly have achieved more.’
      • ‘So what we'll do is prioritize our effort and do as much repair as we possibly can on those most vulnerable portions of the levees.’
      • ‘All we can do is remember most everyone reading this is rich by comparison and we should contribute to the relief efforts if we possibly can.’
      • ‘Now, I can relate to this because I went as far as I could possibly go without actually switching from the bank I've been with for 25 years.’
      • ‘Our aim - the aim of all of us - should be to make these efforts as successful and productive as we possibly can.’
      • ‘We recycle as much as we possibly can, and make every effort to save valuable energy, such as the use of low energy light bulbs and hot water tank lagging.’
      • ‘I could not possibly emphasize more how awkward this is.’