Definition of likely adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈlaɪkli//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈlaɪkli//
    (likelier, likeliest) more likely and most likely are the usual forms
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  1. 1  probable or expected the most likely outcome a likely scenario a likely Oscar nominee likely (to do something) Tickets are likely to be expensive. likely (that…) It's more than likely that the thieves don't know how much it is worth. They might refuse to let us do it, but it's hardly likely. Express YourselfExpressing likelihoodWhen you are talking about possible situations, you can express how likely you think they are: It's pretty much inevitable that prices will go up this year. I think it's likely to rain this afternoon. I’m probably going to be away then. I guess there's a fifty per cent chance that they'll say no. It's unlikely, but not totally impossible, I suppose. They can't possibly/​really be serious about buying a boat! Let's start without them. They're bound to be late. Language BankexpectDiscussing predictions The number of people using mobile phones to purchase goods and services is expected/likely to more than double by the end of 2015. Experts have predicted/forecast that the number of people using their mobile phones to pay for goods and services should exceed 190 million in 2015. This figure is set to reach 200 million by 2016. By 2015, 800 million mobile phone users worldwide will be participating in social networks via their phone. Sales of mobile phones in 2009 were lower than expected. The company’s announcement of 1.26 billion handsets sold for the year is in line with predictions.
  2. 2seeming suitable for a purpose synonym promising She seems the most likely candidate for the job.
  3. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old Norse líkligr, from líkr; related to alike.Extra examples It is entirely likely that the company will make another offer. It is highly likely that the factory will have to close. It seems very likely that he will be forced to resign. Juries became increasingly likely to acquit. The doctors didn’t think it likely that she would ever heal completely. They’re hardly likely to get home before ten. This match was never likely to be a classic. a development they believed would make nuclear war more likely the best deal they are ever likely to get It’s more than likely that the thieves don’t know how much it is worth. They might refuse to let us do it, but it’s hardly likely. What is the most likely cause of the infection?Idioms (informal, ironic) used to show that you do not believe what somebody has said You just found it lying in the street? A likely story!
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: likely