Definition of unlikely in US English:



  • Not likely to happen, be done, or be true; improbable.

    ‘an unlikely explanation’
    ‘it is unlikely that they will ever be used’
    with infinitive ‘the change is unlikely to affect many people’
    • ‘Officials now say it's possible that Discovery could lift off on Sunday but that appears pretty unlikely.’
    • ‘Other recent developments within ITV have confirmed that this scenario is unlikely to occur.’
    • ‘Other factors add to this to make it extremely unlikely.’
    • ‘The club are in negotiations with Ellis and Wakefield but a deal now appears increasingly unlikely.’
    • ‘We find this explanation unlikely for three reasons.’
    • ‘I had hoped that you might make the same attempt, but that seems increasingly unlikely at this point.’
    • ‘They are most unlikely to succeed in winning a UN mandate for pre-emptive action.’
    • ‘Cunnah is unlikely to let something like a labour dispute distract him from the job in hand.’
    • ‘This fact reveals why it is unlikely that true memory could have evolved in plants.’
    • ‘The combination makes it very unlikely so you have to make do with just this!’
    • ‘Something that would be highly unlikely to happen, at least with a modicum of due diligence by the pilot.’
    • ‘But despite those scores, at this stage Rostrevor were looking increasingly unlikely to lose.’
    • ‘Colombian diplomatic sources say it is unlikely that any of the three went to Cuba.’
    • ‘There are historical reasons why I am like this, and I am most unlikely to change.’
    • ‘Certainly something which would have been extremely unlikely to happen in the past.’
    • ‘He has stated that 2001-02 will be his final season and seems highly unlikely to change his mind.’
    • ‘It is possible but highly unlikely that he could compel his victim to attend the trial.’
    • ‘The computer's voice interjected smugly, "That threat is extremely unlikely to succeed’.’
    • ‘Labour certainly look unlikely to benefit from a new system.’
    • ‘Business models focused on advertising in the spirit of broadcasting are therefore very unlikely to succeed.’
    improbable, not likely, doubtful, dubious, unexpected, beyond belief, implausible
    implausible, improbable, questionable, unconvincing, remote, far-fetched, strained, laboured, unrealistic, incredible, unbelievable, inconceivable, unimaginable, fantastic, fabulous, fanciful, ridiculous, absurd, preposterous
    View synonyms