Likely Definition & Meaning! How to Use Likely?

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The word “likely” is a versatile component of the English language, commonly used to express probability or expectation. It’s a term that subtly shifts a sentence from certainty to speculation, providing a nuanced way to convey information about what might happen. This blog post will delve into the meaning of “likely,” explore its usage in various contexts, and provide examples through phrases, idioms, and collocations that integrate this adaptable adverb and adjective.

Definition of Likely

“Likely” functions primarily as an adjective or adverb. As an adjective, it describes something that has a high probability of occurring or seems plausible; as an adverb, it modifies verbs to suggest that an action is probably going to happen.

How to Use Likely?

Using “likely” correctly involves recognizing its role in a sentence:

  • As an adjective: It comes before a noun to describe its likelihood. For example: “She is the likely candidate for the job.”
  • As an adverb: It is used to modify a verb, an adjective, or another adverb, often placed before the main verb or after an auxiliary or modal verb. For example: “He will likely attend the meeting.”

Phrases with Likely

  1. More likely than not – Indicates a greater probability of something happening.
  2. It is likely that – Used to introduce a clause describing a probable event.
  3. As likely as not – Suggests a fifty-fifty chance of something occurring.
  4. Least likely – Describes the option with the lowest probability.
  5. Most likely – Describes the option with the highest probability.
  6. Likely to occur – Predicts the occurrence of an event.
  7. Likely outcome – The expected result of a situation.
  8. Likely scenario – A probable sequence of events.
  9. Not likely – Implies low probability.

Idioms with Likely

  1. A likely story – A phrase used sarcastically to express disbelief in what someone has said.
  2. As likely as finding a needle in a haystack – Extremely unlikely.
  3. Get likely – To act or appear suitable or probable.
  4. The likely lads – Refers to a group of people expected to succeed.
  5. That’s more like it – Used when a situation improves or meets expectations (play on words with ‘likely’).
  6. To take a likely turn – When events start to unfold in a probable manner.
  7. As likely as a pig’s flight – Impossible or very unlikely.
  8. Like as likely – Another way to express something probable.
  9. Make it likely – To do something that increases the chances of a particular outcome.
  10. A likely hit – Something anticipated to be successful or popular.

Collocations with Likely

  1. Highly likely – A high probability.
  2. Politically likely – A likely outcome in a political context.
  3. Scientifically likely – Something probable based on scientific data.
  4. Economically likely – Probable economic outcome or trend.
  5. Socially likely – Likely in a social context.
  6. Mathematically likely – Probable based on mathematical calculation.
  7. Legally likely – Something probable from a legal perspective.
  8. Morally likely – Something likely considered from a moral standpoint.
  9. Culturally likely – Likely in the context of cultural norms or expectations.
  10. Historically likely – Something probable when viewed through historical data.

How to Use Likely


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