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likely

Definition from Dictionary, a free dictionary
Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.
William Shakespeare
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English

Etymology

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

Pronunciation

Adjective

likely (comparative likeli, superlative er)

Positive
likely

Comparative
likeli

Superlative
er

  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.

Translations

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

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