Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Not likely; improbable.
  • adj. Not promising; likely to fail.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Not likely; improbable; not to be reasonably expected; as, an unlikely event; the thing you mention is very unlikely. Not holding out a prospect of success; likely to fail; unpromising; as, unlikely means.
  • adv. In an improbable manner.
  • n. Something or somebody considered unlikely.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Not likely; improbable; not to be reasonably expected
  • adj. Not holding out a prospect of success; likely to fail; unpromising.
  • adj. Not such as to inspire liking; unattractive; disagreeable.
  • adv. In an unlikely manner.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Such as cannot be reasonably expected; improbable: as, an unlikely event.
  • Not holding out a prospect of success or of a desired result; likely to fail; unpromising.
  • Not calculated to inspire liking or affection; not likable or lovable.
  • In an unlikely manner; with no or little likelihood; improbably.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. not likely to be true or to occur or to have occurred
  • adj. having a probability too low to inspire belief
  • adj. has little chance of being the case or coming about

Etymologies

un- +‎ likely (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • And still: in 2011, the term "unlikely" doesn't quite carry the weight it used to.

    Forbes.com: News

  • One thing I hate to hear, and I hate to hear it even more when it comes from strippers themselves, is the term unlikely stripper.

    Figleaf's Real Adult Sex

  • Furthermore, "the Enlightenment" was a term unlikely to be applied to a wanted criminal.

    Jed the Dead

  • Our only quibble is her choice of the word "unlikely."

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • With every game, every precision pass and every clever drive to the basket, Lin is raising expectations, altering the Knicks' fate and redefining the word "unlikely."

    NYT > Home Page

  • The lack of ideologically charged cases also makes this term unlikely to provide much evidence of the alleged conservative ascendency.

    National Review Online

  • So remember when you're feeling very small and insecure, how amazingly unlikely is your birth.

    NASA's Search For Life Still A New Hope

  • The Pompidou Center is the first Paris museum to embark on what authorities call "cultural decentralization" setting up art centers in unlikely areas outside the capital, with its hordes of masterpiece-worshipping tourists and savvy locals.

    At new French museum, the building steals the show

  • Even more unlikely is that they would be turned away at the border and refused a reissue or update of their permit.

    Expired Mexican Car Permit

  • - Serendipitous discoveries that spark off brilliant new ideas (often made in unlikely places, such as the pages of a dusty research book or the aisles of a supermarket) - Sharing your stories, characters and ideas with readers; communicating something worthwhile; touching others

    Writer Unboxed » Blog Archive » Good Things

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