Definition of possibly in US English:



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

    ‘he found himself alone, possibly the only surviving officer’
    • ‘These messages possibly indicated the presence of severe mental health issues.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He is now looking to diversify into tourism and possibly farming to survive until the ban is lifted.’
    • ‘It is part of a vernacular literature that goes back unbroken to the fifth or sixth century, possibly earlier, and survives to this day.’
    • ‘If the paper had not been prepared for such a situation, it would possibly not have survived.’
    • ‘Perhaps it's anxiety, perhaps asthma, perhaps heart and possibly thyroid.’
    • ‘If it is, that would indicate that possibly the boy drowned in this pool.’
    • ‘The fact that he had none possibly indicated that he trusted his visitors.’
    • ‘Only the bass line and six bars of melody had survived, possibly from the slow movement of a Trio Sonata.’
    • ‘Nero, indeed, at one stage in his reign - possibly earlier, perhaps now - had been inclined to abandon Britain altogether.’
    • ‘Miss Lewis says doctors have told her that her father now has a 50 per cent chance, possibly less, of surviving the horrific injuries.’
    • ‘I think the team they selected possibly indicated their own interest in the competition.’
    • ‘Again the study of estrogen alone possibly preventing strokes continues.’
    • ‘In addition to posing a strain on relationships, it can also indicate a possibly dangerous and life-threatening disease.’
    • ‘Which possibly indicates that he thinks several of the top restaurant owners in Australia have criminal records.’
    • ‘Maybe the cold coffee had heightened my senses, or possibly because it was a nice day more people were requesting drinks involving the blender.’
    • ‘Common sense would indicate that the substance possibly was baby powder from a diaper change.’
    • ‘A broken leg and nowhere to go, she could not possibly survive alone.’
    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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She said it so politely that there was no way I could possibly argue.’
      • ‘However could you possibly indicate in the next issue that the book is available in all good bookshops.’
      • ‘Could I possibly come back just for one second because you did surprise me with going round that way?’
      • ‘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.

    • ‘Well, if I were able to get it published, I'd likely be arrested, possibly beaten, and probably imprisoned.’
    • ‘Nothing I could feel, no bewilderment or fright, could possibly match theirs.’
    • ‘Men are possibly more likely to be unwilling to report it, and are much less likely to be believed if they do.’
    • ‘They get more e-mail than they can possibly read, let alone respond to appropriately.’
    • ‘That, we would say, would be a very surprising result and one that the legislature could not possibly have intended.’
    • ‘I rest easy knowing that we likely got everything we possibly could have gotten.’
    • ‘Apparently, according to this report, I may be more likely to suffer from memory loss and possibly even brain shrinkage in my old age.’
    • ‘The increased scrutiny is likely to slow airport travel, possibly requiring airlines to curtail flights as the system is already taxed.’
    • ‘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?’
      • ‘Even when it appears there's nothing more you could possibly deposit into a handkerchief, your body surprises you once again.’
      • ‘Specifically, I was surprised that the article's author could possibly be so naive.’
      • ‘Could they possibly have been taken by such glaring, awful surprise?’
      • ‘But that move alone can't possibly be enough to account for the projected costs nearly doubling.’
      • ‘In this the 21st century how can there possibly be any doubt as to the damage wrought by smoking and passive smoking?’
      • ‘They doubted that he could possibly be looking for a pen in the dead of night.’
      • ‘What can they possibly achieve by taking kids hostage?’
      • ‘James asks how we can possibly indicate the difference between what is known, inferred, or imagined in a reconstruction.’
      • ‘So, it cannot possibly come as a surprise when I got a message from an airline offering up a one day sale.’
      • ‘Who can possibly take a realistic overview of the CDs that pour from labels large, small, and smaller still?’
      • ‘She read one sentence and could hardly believe that such abomination could possibly exist let alone be described.’
      • ‘A person who couldn't possibly have desires and doubts and unfulfilled longings.’
      • ‘Surprised, Indra asked how many Indras there could possibly have been.’
      • ‘According to political correspondents - and who could possibly doubt anything they would write?’
      • ‘Her skin surprisingly was not dark, revealing she couldn't possibly be a native, not with blond hair and soft pale skin.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So why am I telling you all this, I hear you ask, ruining surprise as it quite possibly may?’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Our aim - the aim of all of us - should be to make these efforts as successful and productive as we possibly can.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘No conceivable counter-measures effort could possibly have achieved more.’
      • ‘I could not possibly emphasize more how awkward this is.’
      • ‘During these sets, she works as hard as she possibly can, really emphasizing the negative phase of the movements.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That determination to make yourself as good as you can possibly be and achieve as much as you can.’