• IPA: /ʌnˈlaɪkli/

unlikely (comparative unlikelier, superlative unlikeliest)

  1. Not likely; improbable; not to be reasonably expected.
    It's very unlikely that you'll be able to walk perfectly after being in a cast for six months.
    • 1895, H. G. Wells, The Time Machine Chapter X
      Now, I still think that for this box of matches to have escaped the wear of time for immemorial years was a strange, and for me, a most fortunate thing. Yet oddly enough I found here a far more unlikely substance, and that was camphor.
  2. Not holding out a prospect of success; likely to fail; unpromising.
    unlikely means
Translations Adverb


  1. In an improbable manner.
Translations Noun

unlikely (plural unlikelies)

  1. Something or somebody considered unlikely.
    • 1980, Robert K. Lindsay, Applications of artificial intelligence for organic chemistry
      The molecular ion candidates are divided by the testing phase into three categories: rejects, unlikelies, and probables. Differences between each candidate and the prominent peaks in the spectrum are computed.
    • 1996, Laurie R. King, To Play the Fool
      "Here is my every possible phone number, plus a few unlikelies. And I've also put down the numbers of Karin and Wade, in case you've lost them. Karin can come anytime; Wade, up until six in the morning."
    • 2001, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Marci Shimoff, Chicken soup for the mother's soul 2 (page 166)
      Then the most unlikely of unlikelies happened. We got another phone call. Another woman wanted to give us a baby—a boy, born just that morning. We walked into a hospital, and he was placed into my arms.

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