Definition of unlikely in US English:


adjectiveunlikeliest, unlikelier

  • 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’
    • ‘Other recent developments within ITV have confirmed that this scenario is unlikely to occur.’
    • ‘Certainly something which would have been extremely unlikely to happen in the past.’
    • ‘It is possible but highly unlikely that he could compel his victim to attend the trial.’
    • ‘Business models focused on advertising in the spirit of broadcasting are therefore very unlikely to succeed.’
    • ‘He has stated that 2001-02 will be his final season and seems highly unlikely to change his mind.’
    • ‘But despite those scores, at this stage Rostrevor were looking increasingly unlikely to lose.’
    • ‘Officials now say it's possible that Discovery could lift off on Sunday but that appears pretty unlikely.’
    • ‘Something that would be highly unlikely to happen, at least with a modicum of due diligence by the pilot.’
    • ‘The club are in negotiations with Ellis and Wakefield but a deal now appears increasingly unlikely.’
    • ‘We find this explanation unlikely for three reasons.’
    • ‘Other factors add to this to make it extremely unlikely.’
    • ‘They are most unlikely to succeed in winning a UN mandate for pre-emptive action.’
    • ‘Labour certainly look unlikely to benefit from a new system.’
    • ‘Cunnah is unlikely to let something like a labour dispute distract him from the job in hand.’
    • ‘There are historical reasons why I am like this, and I am most unlikely to change.’
    • ‘The combination makes it very unlikely so you have to make do with just this!’
    • ‘Colombian diplomatic sources say it is unlikely that any of the three went to Cuba.’
    • ‘The computer's voice interjected smugly, "That threat is extremely unlikely to succeed’.’
    • ‘I had hoped that you might make the same attempt, but that seems increasingly unlikely at this point.’
    • ‘This fact reveals why it is unlikely that true memory could have evolved in plants.’
    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