Definition of probability noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˌprɒbəˈbɪləti//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˌprɑːbəˈbɪləti//
    (pl. probabilities) Mathematical terminology
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  1. 1[uncountable, countable] how likely something is to happen synonym likelihood The probability is that prices will rise rapidly. There seemed to be a high probability of success.
  2. 2[countable] a thing that is likely to happen A fall in interest rates is a strong probability in the present economic climate. It now seems a probability rather than just a possibility.
  3. 3[countable, uncountable] (mathematics) a ratio showing the chances that a particular thing will happen There is a 60% probability that the population will be infected with the disease. See related entries: Mathematical terminology
  4. Word Origin late Middle English: from Latin probabilitas, from probabilis ‘provable, credible’, from probare ‘to test, demonstrate’.Extra examples In all probability she wouldn’t come even if we invited her. On the balance of probabilities, the pilot suffered a stroke before the crash. The coroner thought that on the balance of probabilities, the pilot had suffered a stroke just before the crash. There is a high probability that it will snow tonight. This surgical procedure has a high probability of success. We can say with a high degree of probability that the poem was written by Shakespeare. genetic factors that influence the probability of becoming sick measures to increase the probability for a sustained recoveryIdioms
    (on) the balance of evidence/probability
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    (formal) (considering) the evidence on both sides of an argument, to find the most likely reason for or result of something The balance of evidence suggests the Liberal party's decline began before the First World War.
    it is very likely that In all probability he failed to understand the consequences of his actions.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: probability