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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
improbable
adjective
COLLOCATIONS FROM OTHER ENTRIES
highly unlikely/likely/improbable/probable
▪ It’s highly unlikely that the project will be finished on time.
COLLOCATIONS FROM CORPUS
■ ADVERB
highly
▪ The fact that highly improbable circumstances could result in significant upside potential should not affect the presentation.
▪ Indeed, it makes such an occurrence very highly improbable.
▪ This would be a highly improbable conclusion.
▪ Therefore the existence of a universe as stable as this is highly improbable.
▪ It is therefore highly improbable if not impossible that recent damage to a roof would have caused rot in underlying timbers.
▪ But it is still highly improbable, a fluke of nature, not a predictable outcome.
▪ Frankly, this seems highly improbable.
▪ It is all truly amazing, and highly improbable, given all the ways the system could break down.
more
▪ What is more improbable is that the Genetic Supermarket, with its emphasis upon individual choice, will bring this possibility nearer.
▪ Perhaps it is no more improbable than anything else that may happen by chance in this universe.
▪ They would simply be judged very improbable, the waving statue much more improbable than the lightning.
▪ What is the force driving matter into ever more complicated, ever more improbable forms?
most
▪ Given the unhealthy level of policy agreement between Labor and the Liberals that we have now, such cooperation is most improbable.
▪ This all-embracing assumption is most improbable but it is justifiable since it never lets us down.
▪ It was the most improbable of finals.
▪ This account of events certainly fitted the circumstantial evidence, but was seen by the jury as most improbable.
Most of all, Mr Winchester writes in a way guaranteed to lure the reader on to the most improbable journeys.
very
▪ However, Dawkins suggests that, given enough time, even very improbable things might happen, and that is that.
▪ They would simply be judged very improbable, the waving statue much more improbable than the lightning.
▪ Either we assume that the whole universe is at the present moment in a very improbable state.
▪ This is also very improbable because everybody knows slugs stick and probably would not fall.
▪ At first sight this might seem very improbable, because such smooth regions would be heavily outnumbered by chaotic and irregular regions.
■ NOUN
event
▪ In a phenomenologically complex universe, extremely improbable events are certain to happen.
▪ An improbable event is one that happens only in one or a few possible worlds.
PHRASES FROM OTHER ENTRIES
vanishingly small/improbable
▪ But even if this conclusion is not justified, we can say that infallible beliefs must have vanishingly small content.
▪ For just the same reason, it is vanishingly improbable that exactly the same evolutionary pathway should ever be travelled twice.
▪ If the object is very distant, linear magnification becomes vanishingly small.
▪ It would need a gigantic and vanishingly improbable leap across genetic hyperspace.
▪ On average, the chances of weediness emerging by accident are vanishingly small.
▪ Statistically, however, the chance of avoiding synonyms altogether is vanishingly small.
EXAMPLES FROM OTHER ENTRIES
▪ Carter claims he paid $4000 for the papers, which seems highly improbable.
▪ It's improbable that she would have been so successful without famous parents.
▪ It's highly improbable that someone would win the lottery twice.
▪ It seems improbable that America's allies will oppose the proposed arms reduction.
▪ The ladies were dressed in improbable combinations of colors.
▪ The new pay agreement makes further industrial action by the union highly improbable.
▪ The Rockets managed an improbable victory in last night's game.
EXAMPLES FROM CORPUS
▪ Alas, his selection would require an improbable U-turn on the part of the Sassenach segment of the selectors.
▪ An improbable event is one that happens only in one or a few possible worlds.
▪ Given the unhealthy level of policy agreement between Labor and the Liberals that we have now, such cooperation is most improbable.
▪ It has deeply divided mid-green leaves that flare to wild, improbable scarlet.
▪ Nevertheless, the Foxton project was mysteriously improbable even if there had been no internal combustion on the way.
▪ Perhaps it is no more improbable than anything else that may happen by chance in this universe.
▪ Therefore the existence of a universe as stable as this is highly improbable.
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Improbable

Improbable \Im*prob"a*ble\, a. [L. improbabilis; pref. im- not + probabilis probable: cf. F. improbable. See Probable.] Not probable; unlikely to be true; not to be expected under the circumstances or in the usual course of events; as, an improbable story or event.

He . . . sent to Elutherius, then bishop of Rome, an improbable letter, as some of the contents discover.
--Milton. -- Im*prob"a*ble*ness, n. -- Im*prob"a*bly, adv.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
improbable

1590s, from assimilated form of in- (1) "not, opposite of" + probable, or else from Latin improbabilis. Related: Improbably.

Wiktionary
improbable

a. 1 Not likely to be true. 2 Not likely to happen.

WordNet
improbable
  1. adj. not likely to be true or to occur or to have occurred; "legislation on the question is highly unlikely"; "an improbable event" [syn: unlikely] [ant: probable]

  2. having a probability to low to inspire belief [syn: unbelievable, unconvincing, unlikely]

  3. too improbable to admit of belief; "a tall story" [syn: marvelous, marvellous, tall(a)]

Wikipedia
Improbable

Improbable is a 2005 science fiction thriller novel by Adam Fawer, about a gambler who gains the power to predict the future. It was awarded the 2006 International Thriller Writers Award for best first novel.

Improbable (The X-Files)

"Improbable" is the thirteenth episode of the ninth season and the 195th episode overall of the science fiction television series The X-Files. The episode first aired in the United States and Canada on April 7, 2002 on Fox, and subsequently aired in the United Kingdom. It was written and directed by series creator and executive producer Chris Carter. The episode is a "monster-of-the-week" episode, a stand-alone plot which is unconnected to the mythology, or overarching fictional history, of The X-Files. The episode earned a Nielsen rating of 5.1 and was viewed by 9.1 million viewers. The episode received mostly positive reviews from critics.

The show centers on FBI special agents who work on cases linked to the paranormal, called X-Files; this season focuses on the investigations of John Doggett ( Robert Patrick), Monica Reyes ( Annabeth Gish), and Dana Scully ( Gillian Anderson). In this episode, Reyes and her fellow agents investigate a serial killer who uses numerology to choose his victims. Soon, Reyes and Scully meet an unusual man who may prove more of a hindrance than a help.

"Improbable" features Burt Reynolds playing God. Reynolds was chosen after he expressed his desire to appear in an episode of The X-Files to Robert Patrick. Carter approved the idea, and Patrick later said that Reynolds enjoyed filming the episode. "Improbable" contains several elaborate effects, such as a cityscape rendered to look like Reynolds' head. Furthermore, the episode contains themes pertaining to fate, free will, and numerology. The tagline for this episode is "Dio Ti Ama", meaning "God loves you" in Italian, replacing the usual phrase "The Truth is Out There."

Usage examples of "improbable".

That, as far as we can judge, it is highly improbable that, without experiments made upon animals, mankind would by now have been in possession of such knowledge.

That, as far as we can judge, it is highly improbable that without experiments made upon animals, mankind would, at the present time, have been in possession of such knowledge.

Such are the circumstances of this ostentatious and improbable relation, dictated, as it too plainly appears, by the vanity of the monarch, adorned by the unblushing servility of his flatterers, and received without contradiction by a distant and obsequious senate.

With a favourable wind I shall look into Malta for possible but improbable reinforcements and the latest intelligence from those parts, and then proceed to Durazzo and beyond for the purpose of strengthening royalists and of capturing or destroying Bonapartist or- privateering ships.

The beautiful, wonderful Schlaraffenland or Cockaigne or lubberland all rolled into one improbable thing, the country where dissenters are shot at sight and the laws are obeyed immediately or else.

A Fauvist dedicated to improbable color might have imagined a landscape this way, especially once sky and ground took on a reddish bloom and the swollen trunks of elderly oaks became so black they began to look blue.

Emergency in space was improbable in the extreme, but who would dare disturb him for anything less?

But being arrived in this lonely place, where it was very improbable he should meet with any interruption, he suddenly slipped his garter from his leg, and, laying violent hands on the poor woman, endeavoured to perpetrate that dreadful and detestable fact which we have before commemorated, and which the providential appearance of Jones did so fortunately prevent.

Such a suggestion is no longer so improbable as it seemed to be in 1901, when it was still a tenable theory that the new development of Egyptian art was due to Mesopotamian influence, and came from Mitanni with Queen Tyi, the wife of Amenhotep III.

I think it not improbable that persistent race characters may eventually be found distinguishing the muntjac of these islands from that of British India.

All of whichcombined with nearsightedness, asthma and a club foot that lent me a lopsided gaitmakes me, I suppose, an improbable agent in the events that are to follow.

They also made some improbable suggestions as to what Frallien IV could do with the gold statuette customarily awarded to the Olympiad victors.

His conversation, which is what he must mainly be judged by, since he has yet to exercise much visible power, is an improbable mixture of introspective genius and postindustrial babble.

I thought it improbable that Moore would follow us through a potluck portal, but you never know.

A host of improbable plants, smoke tree and snakewood, cork oaks and other rarities, dotted the lawns, their shapes rakish or anxious or sorrowful.