From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishlikelylike‧ly1 /ˈlaɪkli/ ●●● S1 W1 adjective (comparative likelier, superlative likeliest) 1 PROBABLYsomething that is likely will probably happen or is probably true OPP unlikely Snow showers are likely tomorrow.likely outcome/effects/consequences etc What are the likely effects of the law going to be? the most likely cause of the problemlikely to do/be something Children who live in the country’s rural areas are very likely to be poor.more/less/most/least likely Young drivers are far more likely to have accidents than older drivers. It is more than likely (=almost certain) the votes will have to be counted again. It could have been an accident, but that was hardly likely (=not very likely). He could offer no likely explanation when I asked him.2 [only before noun]PROBABLY suitable for a particular purpose the three most likely candidates for president One likely source of energy is wind power.3 → a likely storyCOLLOCATIONSadverbsvery/highly/extremely likelyIt did not seem very likely that he was still alive.more/most likelyAt this age, boys were more likely than girls to be active in sports.quite likely British English (=very likely)As parents, if we expect bad behaviour we are quite likely to get it.less/least likelyThe smallest puppies are the least likely to survive.hardly likely (=not very likely)It seems hardly likely that she would tell her husband about it.more than likely (=very likely)She'll be late, more than likely.increasingly likelyThe project looked increasingly likely to fail.verbsseem/appear/look likelyWhich candidate seems likely to win?nounsa likely explanationWhat is the most likely explanation for the way she acted?a likely result/outcomethe most likely outcome of the electiona likely effect/consequenceConsider the options open to you, and their likely consequences.the likely impact (=the likely effect or influence of something)What is the likely impact of the new factory on the local environment?a likely cause/reasonthe likely cause of the accident
Examples from the Corpuslikely• A peace settlement now seems likely.• But if the past points the way to the future, then a healthy and prosperous adulthood seems more than likely.• a list of likely candidates• Showers and thunderstorms are likely in the afternoon.• The most likely result is a win for the Democrats.• It is likely that the girl knew her killer.• More experiments on more lymphoma-bearing mice followed, and the doses likely to achieve the best effect were assessed with great care.• But they are likely to be of greater strategic than employment significance, and there will be losses.• At least some of the extra cost of stockholding is likely to be passed on to the caterer.• The jury is very likely to believe he was in the apartment at the time of the crime.• Regular travellers committed to such programmes are likely to choose hotels providing appropriate health and fitness facilities.• The price of petrol is likely to rise again this year.likely outcome/effects/consequences etc• Five out of six opinion polls yesterday showed Labour in the lead, pointing to a hung Parliament as the most likely outcome.• In this way, individual operations can be shaped to be realistic rather than at odds with the likely outcome.• The process leading up to this and its likely consequences for teaching are discussed in detail in the article by Walsh.• Higher education was reinforcing likely outcomes instead of altering them.• Here she is assessing the likely outcome of a confrontation with her local council.• It is most important that the patient considers the likely consequences of different ways of trying to achieve goals.• In addition, such strategies presume that decision makers understand the likely effects of technology development on a local economy.• The most likely outcome will be that Rep.likely candidates• Check and triple check the likely candidates.• Stirling continued to trawl among acquaintances and friends for likely candidates.• Thames, North West and Severn Trent are the most likely candidates.• For several reasons the first and last of these are the most likely candidates and each has its proponents.• Film stars, such as Marilyn Monroe, are likely candidates, and the pressure of such a role can create unbearable conflict.• Theoretically, bats could do the same thing, but dolphins seem more likely candidates because they are in general more social.• Three likely candidates for study are the comets Enke, Tempel 2 and Honday-Mrkos-Pajdusakova.• The police kept up their enquiries and one or two likely candidates rose to the surface, but nothing was clearly actionable.likelylikely2 ●●○ adverb 1 PROBABLYprobablymost/very likely I’d very likely have done the same thing in your situation.(as) likely as not spoken (=very probably) As likely as not, the meeting will take place in the village pub.2 → not likely!
Examples from the Corpuslikely• Firms that lack the time or resources to develop their own screening procedures will likely turn to personnel firms.• Five points, which equates to 14 wins, likely will be enough for the conference title. 1.most/very likely• With the United States running a current account deficit of staggering dimensions, the most likely candidate is not hard to spot.• Mixed in with most of the words in Englishand very likely every other language-is some taint of liking or disliking.• I'd most likely have done the same thing in your situation.• If you are having problems with your asthma, it most likely means that you are not on an appropriate treatment plan.• The party's most likely recourse is a face-saving compromise with the Ministry of Finance that does not alter the statusquo.• So it's very likely she told you a few fibs.• It is most likely they are all linked.• This is most likely to happen where the wife has not worked outside the home.• In practice the most likely victim of insider dealing is the market maker with whom the insider trades.Origin likely1 (1300-1400) Old Norse glikligr, from glikr “like”