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



    BrE BrE//ʌnˈlaɪkli//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ʌnˈlaɪkli//
    (unlikelier, unlikeliest) more unlikely and most unlikely are the usual forms
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  1. 1  not likely to happen; not probable unlikely (to do something) The project seemed unlikely to succeed. unlikely (that…) It's most (= very) unlikely that she'll arrive before seven. In the unlikely event of a problem arising, please contact the hotel manager. 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.
  2. 2[only before noun] not the person, thing or place that you would normally think of or expect He seems a most unlikely candidate for the job. They have built hotels in the most unlikely places.
  3. 3  [only before noun] difficult to believe synonym implausible She gave me an unlikely explanation for her behaviour. opposite likely
  4. Extra examples An economic collapse is inherently unlikely. He thought it unlikely that she would refuse. The takeover bid now looks unlikely to succeed. In the unlikely event of a problem arising, please contact the hotel manager. It’s most unlikely that she’ll arrive before seven. She gave me a rather unlikely explanation for her behaviour. an unlikely candidate/​applicant/​contender an unlikely hero/​winner/​rock star/​celebrity
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: unlikely