Definitions

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

  • adj. Capable of happening, existing, or being true without contradicting proven facts, laws, or circumstances.
  • adj. Capable of occurring or being done without offense to character, nature, or custom.
  • adj. Capable of favorable development; potential: a possible site for the new capital.
  • adj. Of uncertain likelihood.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Able but not certain to happen; not impossible.
  • adj. Capable of being done or achieved; feasible.
  • adj. Being considered, e.g. for a position.
  • n. A possible one
  • n. A possible choice, notably someone being considered for a position.
  • n. A particular event that may happen.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Capable of existing or occurring, or of being conceived or thought of; able to happen; capable of being done; not contrary to the nature of things; -- sometimes used to express extreme improbability; barely able to be, or to come to pass.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • That may be; not known not to be true; not known not to be true in some hypothetical state of information.

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

  • n. something that can be done
  • adj. capable of happening or existing
  • n. an applicant who might be suitable
  • adj. existing in possibility

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin possibilis, from posse, to be able.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old French, from Latin possibilis ("possible"), from Latin posse ("to be able"); see power. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • On Barack Obama and 'the art of the possible' yahooBuzzArticleHeadline = 'On Barack Obama and \'the art of the possible\' '; yahooBuzzArticleSummary =' Article: You hung it all out there for your latest hero, Barack Hussein Obama.

    On Barack Obama and 'the art of the possible'

  • Just as the past tense ampliates the subject to include past as well as present supposita, modal verbs ampliate the subject to possible supposita, as do verbs such as ‘I understand’, ‘I believe’, and indeed, notes Albert of Saxony, verbal nouns ending in ‘-bile’: ‘possible’, ‘audible’, ‘credible’, ‘capable of laughter’ and so on.

    Medieval Theories: Properties of Terms

  • It is certainly possible for an anxious straining ingenuity to _imagine_ such cases; and where is the rule of law, which, in the infirmity of human institutions, cannot be shown capable of occasioning _possible_ mischief and injustice?

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 56, Number 349, November, 1844

  • '_Si c'est possible ... si c'est possible_ ... a double door with a grille?

    Widdershins

  • We're all hands averse to bloodshed, and we intend to work our business without it, if possible -- you understand, _if possible_!

    The Missing Merchantman

  • So Le Mercier de la Rivière says, in 1767, that the ultimate end of society is _assurer le plus grand bonheur possible à la plus grande population possible_ (Daire's _Économistes_, p. 470).

    The English Utilitarians, Volume I.

  • That turning of the oblique globe askance, which Wesley represents as the cause of extreme heat and cold, was the very thing to _prevent_ those extremes, or to reduce them to the lowest possible point, and to secure to every part of the globe, as _far as possible_, an _equal_ amount of light and warmth.

    Modern Skepticism: A Journey Through the Land of Doubt and Back Again A Life Story

  • The game plan is to hit it as far as possible and as close as ­possible on every single hole.

    thepilot.com stories

  • * Leave this file running on the browsers of as many computers as possible for as long as possible*

    Indymedia Ireland

  • It is possible, under such circumstances that a Peace Party might arise; and perhaps just _possible_ that England and France might give weight to such a Party [628]. "

    Great Britain and the American Civil War

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