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unlikely
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
unlikely
adjective
COLLOCATIONS FROM OTHER ENTRIES
an unlikely hero (=someone who you did not expect to be brave or did not expect to admire )
▪ Baxter was the unlikely hero of the game.
an unlikely scenario
▪ I might get the job, but it is an unlikely scenario.
an unlikely setting
▪ This quiet suburb may seem an unlikely setting for a top restaurant.
highly unlikely/likely/improbable/probable
▪ It’s highly unlikely that the project will be finished on time.
it seems likely/unlikely/reasonable/clear (that)
▪ It seems likely that he will miss Ireland’s next match.
COLLOCATIONS FROM CORPUS
■ ADVERB
extremely
▪ It was also aware that a further renewal of the Carnegie Trust's grant was extremely unlikely.
▪ Continued presentation of the scenes within the pairing phase is extremely unlikely to result in an unconditioned response.
▪ However the constraints are such that without new legislation it is extremely unlikely that this is an option open to the Catholic sector.
▪ But it is extremely unlikely that any answer will be received.
▪ However, transplantations of a head from one body to another are extremely unlikely.
▪ You are extremely unlikely to eat this amount - some 9000 calories - in one day.
▪ But that Parliament has not met since 1706 and is extremely unlikely ever to meet again.
▪ It is extremely unlikely that if the House of Lords did not exist it would be invented in its present form.
highly
▪ If what he says is true, which is highly unlikely, they must visit his latrine during the hours of darkness.
▪ On the other hand, the Jackson amendment seemed highly unlikely to pass Congress, and the attempt could be costly politically.
▪ A return to formalism is highly unlikely given popular expectations of individualized justice.
▪ And is it not highly unlikely that there should be a rule which ensures that what we desire will come about?
▪ A couple of other points that make the purchase of Gazza highly unlikely. 1.
▪ This makes it highly unlikely that the council will be able to meet the three-month deadline on any site.
▪ This would appear to be highly unlikely.
▪ It is, therefore, highly unlikely that imitation of adult models can explain their occurrence.
most
▪ It is most unlikely that without the reformulation a hearer would have even understood what the first segment was about.
▪ Tomorrow's meeting at Carlisle, where the track is currently frozen, is most unlikely to go ahead.
▪ It's most unlikely that will be achieved if the rolled joint or poultry is cooked from frozen. 3.
▪ The tale is inherently a most unlikely one, uniting a pious lady with a pagan fertility ritual.
▪ Even the most unlikely avenues are worth exploring.
▪ Stars have risen from the most unlikely backgrounds, as Pauline Norton's Bubbles proves.
▪ You should not arrive early as we are most unlikely to have waiting space available in the lounge area.
▪ Unless there are political brownie points from on high it is most unlikely you will receive assistance.
very
▪ The Depression and the decline of the Distressed Areas made a return to such unrest very unlikely.
▪ You are very unlikely to be suffering from it, as it is almost entirely confined to males.
▪ The demands made by terminals on channels and lines are very unlikely to exceed their capacity.
▪ These last three are very, very unlikely, but that is all one can say.
▪ And for any of these suspects to have done it, one had to posit a very unlikely set of circumstances.
▪ It is very unlikely to be roads with the depth of popular feeling on the subject at the moment.
▪ Nails was very unlikely to have left the car in the same place; he never did, it was too inconvenient.
▪ It seemed very unlikely that Friend was from Madreidetic.
■ NOUN
event
▪ In the unlikely event of trouble they would understandably not want to carry the can alone.
▪ Except in the unlikely event that rates soon plummet, it could cost the bank up to £100m this year.
place
▪ On my birth certificate it states that I was born in Oban, which seems an unlikely place for the second coming.
▪ To that end, I try to give my sons mentors, and these come from unlikely places.
▪ Young cuckoos are sometimes reared in the most unlikely places.
▪ Discharges are contacted, often, in very unlikely places.
▪ And despite the recession, it has a full order book with some requests from the most unlikely places.
▪ Such sanctions permeated society and popped up even in the most unlikely places.
▪ It is an unlikely place for a revolution.
▪ Five Forks, like most battlefields, is an unlikely place for such carnage.
EXAMPLES FROM OTHER ENTRIES
▪ A small amount of the drug is unlikely to have any harmful effects.
▪ I think it's unlikely that the police had anything to do with it.
▪ It's highly unlikely that Burton will be the party's nominee.
▪ It is unlikely that anyone saw the attack.
▪ She might come with us, but it's fairly unlikely.
▪ Students invent all sorts of unlikely explanations as to why they can't do their homework.
▪ That sounds a pretty unlikely story to me!
EXAMPLES FROM CORPUS
▪ A large proportion of our researchers are therefore unlikely to make major contributions to the literature of their research area.
▪ Anthony eventually tracks him down and the unlikely chums share a drink or two too many.
▪ But they are unlikely to be able to save more than a dozen or so seats.
▪ Ex-journo turned editor, his recent tome Gothic Rock enjoyed the unlikely publishing coup of having no competition.
▪ It is unlikely to put them out.
▪ It will be gearing up this year, but is unlikely to repeat the 1991 rights issue.
▪ Waterstone's was an unlikely success story of the 80s Thatcherite boom.
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Unlikely

Unlikely \Un*like"ly\, a.

  1. Not likely; improbable; not to be reasonably expected; as, an unlikely event; the thing you mention is very unlikely.

  2. Not holding out a prospect of success; likely to fail; unpromising; as, unlikely means.
    --Hooker.

  3. Not such as to inspire liking; unattractive; disagreeable. [Obs.] ``The unlikely eld of me.''
    --Chaucer.

Unlikely

Unlikely \Un*like"ly\, adv. In an unlikely manner.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
unlikely

late 14c., "not likely to occur," from un- (1) "not" + likely (adj.). Similar formation in Old Norse ulikligr, Middle Danish uligelig. Meaning "not likely to be true" is recorded from 1590s. Related: Unlikeliness; unlikelihood.

unlikely

mid-15c., "improbably," from un- (1) "not" + likely (adv.) (see likely (adj.)).

Wiktionary
unlikely

a. 1 Not likely; improbable; not to be reasonably expected. 2 Not holding out a prospect of success; likely to fail; unpromising. adv. In an improbable manner. n. Something or somebody considered unlikely.

WordNet
unlikely
  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: improbable] [ant: probable]

  2. has little chance of being the case or coming about; "an unlikely story"; "an unlikely candidate for reelection"; "a butcher is unlikely to preach vegetarianism" [ant: likely]

  3. having a probability to low to inspire belief [syn: improbable, unbelievable, unconvincing]

Usage examples of "unlikely".

He sat there in the office, tapping at the computer as he wrung the cost analyses out of it, adding variables, removing the more unlikely ones, inserting market projections and probable effects on other affiliated firms of the company.

Concern for the sciences is all very well, but scientific information has a way of being discovered in many places at almost the same time: it is unlikely that discontinuing our affiliation with the Federation would cripple its sciences.

That is say there may be a gene for laying two eggs, a rival allele for laying three, another allele for laying four, and so on, although in practice it is unlikely to be quite as simple as this.

On the contrary, the labs working on the problem were learning just how unlikely finding any antivirus in less than two months would be.

It was a technology that would be worth uncounted billions to Bootstrap, in some unlikely future in which he made it back home and stayed out of jail.

In the most unlikely event of the brothel being included in the raid Mary must be sacrificed if he was to survive.

The Bursar, he had no doubt, was an ambitious man and unlikely to be content with the modest attainments of College life.

Back at the walled garden near the house, Ana turned to survey the gently sloping terrain down to the jungle, and was hit by its unlikely but striking similarity to another would-be paradise, the remnants of which she had once visited, a hortus conclusus whose inhabitants had tried to keep the outside world at bay while an ideal society was being constructed within the boundaries.

I did not merely say that I would dislike to be put to the test, but I said clearly, if I were put to the test, and a Territory from which slavery had been excluded should present herself with a State constitution sanctioning slavery,--a most extraordinary thing, and wholly unlikely to happen,--I did not see how I could avoid voting for her admission.

Given the minuscule quantities of magnetite actually involved, it was extremely unlikely that any of them could act as a human compass.

Cecily and her husband, she tried to believe that Mallard was perhaps acting the part of reconciler--not an unlikely thing, as her better judgment told her.

Cressida Mandeville had a great deal to answer for, including some physical discomfort which was unlikely to be eased as he would wish.

This, however, seems unlikely, because in the troodontids the second toe is associated with a totally different metatarsus design.

It was unlikely that this was a very remarkable meteoroid, though its cross-section had a curious, all-around layering, rather like the annual rings of a tree branch.

With the robust resolution born of a lifetime spent achieving unlikely objectives, George Hees craved the prime ministership of Canada.