- 1 used to say that something might exist, happen, or be true, but you are not certain synonym perhaps It was possibly their worst performance ever. She found it difficult to get along with her, possibly because of the difference in their ages. “Will you be around next week?” “Possibly.” “I'm sure he didn't mean to be rude.” “Quite possibly (= you may be right), but the damage has been done.” Language Bankperhapsmaking an opinion sound less definite Most cybercrime involves traditional crimes, such as theft and fraud, being committed in new ways. Phishing is perhaps/possibly/probably the best-known example of this. It seems/appears that the more personal data that organizations collect, the more opportunity there is for this information to be lost or stolen. It seems clear that the widespread use of Social Security numbers to identify people contributes to the problem of identity theft. It could be argued that the widespread use of Social Security numbers to identify people contributes to the problem of identity theft. It is possible that/It may be that the only way to protect ourselves against DNA identity theft is to avoid the creation of national DNA databases.
- 2used to emphasize that you are surprised, annoyed, etc. about something You can't possibly mean that! How could you possibly think that I had anything to do with it!
- 3used to ask someone politely to do something Could you possibly open that window?
- 4used to say that someone will do or has done as much as they can in order to make something happen I will come as soon as I possibly can. They tried everything they possibly could to improve the situation. We don't want these rumors to spread if we can possibly avoid it.
- 5used with negatives, especially “can't” and “couldn't,” to say strongly that you cannot do something or that something cannot or could not happen or be done I can't possibly tell you that! You can't possibly carry all those bags. “Let me buy it for you.” “That's very kind of you, but I couldn't possibly (= accept).”
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