Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
The Collaborative International Dictionary
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
a. 1 Not likely to be true. 2 Not likely to happen.
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" 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.