AskDefine | Define likely

Dictionary Definition

likely adj
1 has a good chance of being the case or of coming about; "these services are likely to be available to us all before long"; "she is likely to forget"; "a likely place for a restaurant"; "the broken limb is likely to fall"; "rain is likely"; "a likely topic for investigation"; "likely candidates for the job" [ant: unlikely]
2 likely but not certain to be or become true or real; "a likely result"; "he foresaw a probable loss" [syn: probable, plausible] [ant: improbable]
3 expected to become or be; in prospect; "potential clients"; "expected income" [syn: expected, potential]
4 within the realm of credibility; "not a very likely excuse"; "a plausible story" [syn: plausible] adv : with considerable certainty; without much doubt; "He is probably out of the country"; "in all likelihood we are headed for war" [syn: probably, in all likelihood, in all probability, belike]

User Contributed Dictionary



Middle English likly, from Old English gelclc(from gelc, similar), and from Old Norse lkligr(from lkr, similar); see lk- in Indo-European roots.


  • /ˈlaɪkli/


  1. probable; having a good chance of occuring
    Rain is likely later this afternoon.
  2. probable; Possessing or displaying the qualities or characteristics that make something probable
    They are likely to become angry with him.
  3. appropriate; believable; having a good potential
    Jones is a likely candidate for management.
  4. plausible; Within the realm of credibility
    not a very likely excuse.
  5. suitable; Apparently appropriate or suitable
    There were several likely candidates for the job.
  6. promising; Apt to achieve success or yield a desired outcome
    a likely topic for investigation.
  7. attractive; pleasant
    found a likely spot under a shady tree for the picnic.

Usage notes

Used as an adverb likely is most commonly preceded by a modifier such as very or quite: He will quite likely require some help with his classes. But the unmodified use of likely is common enough in educated writing, and though it might be better avoided in highly formal style, it should not be regarded as incorrect: They'll likely buy a new car this year.
In standard English the adverb likely must be used with word such as most,more or very:
  • We will most likely see him later.
In informal usage likely is often used on its own:
  • We will likely see him later.
  • He said that he would likely run for Prime Minister.


probable; having a good chance of occuring
  • Finnish: todennäköinen
displaying the qualities or characteristics that make something probable
  • Finnish: luultava, todennäköinen
appropriate; believable; having a good potential
  • Finnish: mahdollinen, todennäköinen
plausible; within the realm of credibility
  • Finnish: uskottava, todennäköinen
suitable; apparently appropriate or suitable
  • Finnish: sopiva, todennäköinen
promising; apt to achieve success or yield a desired outcome
  • Finnish: lupaava, todennäköinen
attractive; pleasant
  • Finnish: miellyttävä

Extensive Definition

like is to smell

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Junoesque, a propos, able, acceptable, ad rem, adapted, advantageous, advisable, agreeable, amply endowed, applicable, apposite, appropriate, apropos, apt, apt to, assumably, becoming, befitting, bent, bonny, braw, built, built for comfort, buxom, by all odds, callipygian, callipygous, cogitable, comely, conceivable, conceivably possible, congruous, contingent, convenient, couleur de rose, credible, curvaceous, curvy, decent, desirable, disposed, disposed to, dispositioned, dollars to doughnuts, doubtless, doubtlessly, dovetailing, earthly, encouraging, expected, expedient, fair, favorable, favored, favorite, feasible, felicitous, fit, fitted, fitten, fitting, foreseeable, fructuous, geared, given, goddess-like, good, good-looking, goodly, happy, hopeful, humanly possible, imaginable, in all likelihood, in all probability, in the cards, in the mood, inclined, inclined to, indubitably, just right, liable, liable to, like enough, lovely to behold, meet, meshing, minded, mortal, most likely, no doubt, odds-on, on the button, opportune, pat, personable, plausible, pleasing, pneumatic, politic, possible, potential, predictable, predictable within limits, predisposed, presentable, presumable, presumably, presumptive, presumptively, probable, probably, profitable, promising, prone, proper, qualified, reasonable, recommendable, relevant, right, rose-colored, roseate, rosy, seasonable, seemly, shapely, sightly, slender, sortable, stacked, statistically probable, statuesque, suitable, suited, suiting, tailored, ten to one, tenable, thinkable, timely, to be desired, to the point, to the purpose, undoubtedly, useful, verisimilar, very like, very likely, well-built, well-favored, well-formed, well-made, well-proportioned, well-shaped, well-stacked, well-timed, wise, worthwhile
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