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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.


adv. In an improbable manner; without probability.


adv. not easy to believe; "behind you the coastal hills plunge to the incredibly blue sea backed by the Turkish mountains" [syn: incredibly, implausibly, unbelievably] [ant: believably, credibly]

Usage examples of "improbably".

Parta consulted her own wishes she would have retired with a few followers to the swamps and fens of the country to the north rather than surrender her son, but the Brigantes, who inhabited Lincolnshire, and who ranged over the whole of the north of Britain as far as Northumberland, had also received a defeat at the hands of the Romans, and might not improbably hand her over upon their demand.

Improbably, the three churches seemed to be separated systematically, in an enormous city-wide triangle.

The first crystal sample to be analyzed properly, a blue porphyry type, proved, due to peculiarities of its composition, a marvelous optical storage device, allowing computers virtually instantaneous access to improbably large volumes of data stored in matrixes of exceptionally small dimensions.

The rim armaments were still lancing away at the crustal countermeasures, but now the spore discharges were coming from tens of kilometres away, and it was clear that no immediate threat was posed, unless the crust was capable of improbably rapid regeneration.

Among his other books were On the Various Contrivances by Which British and Foreign Orchids Are Fertilised by Insects (1862), Expressions of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872), which sold almost 5,300 copies on its first day, The Effects of Cross and Self Fertilization in the Vegetable Kingdom (1876)—a subject that came improbably close to Mendel’s own work, without attaining anything like the same insights—and his last book, The Power of Movement in Plants.

She did, but her eyeballs ached with visions of Torkes and an improbably robust Pentrom urging the faithful onto the path to victory and planetarianism, defending the credo of Optheria to the death.

He slopped around in big T-shirts and oversized jeans, alternately grimacing and grinning at the music earphoned into his head from an improbably tiny device, an iPod or an MP3 player.

Bradford speaks only of Billington and his family as those "shuffled into their company," and while he was not improbably one of the agitators (with Hopkins) who were the proximate causes of the drawing up of the Compact, he was not, in this case, the responsible leader.

He whistled something improbably convoluted in modemspeak, at a baud rate I couldn't follow.

As bricks crashed down and the dust blew away, one of Euvinophan's Peep-surplus tanks came grinding improbably across the rubble.

Take away the joke feet and they would look like the teeth of some fallen Biblical giant -- the cuspids were big white blocks and the canine teeth looked like tentpegs sunk in the improbably red plastic gums.

The rest of the crowd followed in the station wagon and when they unloaded, it seemed like a clown car from a circus, an improbably large number of persons climbing forth to stand in the barnyard looking about.

A cocktail cabinet, which in 1980 had vanished improbably from a Bayswater bawdy house, reflected candelabra glow within its mirrored front.

His visitor was dressed, most improbably, in complete fly fisherman's gear, including waders, utility vest, flannel plaid shirt, and shapeless hat.

The gilded cage glowed in the dawn light, the sinuous patterns at top and bottom improbably pretty for a slave cage.