likely

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Related to likelier: obviously, coyly, wonderfully

likely story

An exclamation of distrust or disbelief in someone's explanation or story. Albert: "Sorry I'm late. My car broke down half way here!" Sarah: "Yeah, likely story! I bet you just wanted to finish watching the football game on TV."
See also: likely, story

(that's a) likely story

A phrase used to express disbelief of an excuse or explanation. He said he had to stay late at the office again. That's a likely story—he's probably out with his friends! The cat ate your science project? Likely story.
See also: likely, story

as likely as not

Probably; most likely. During lunch, you'll find Mrs. Smith preparing lessons in her office, as likely as not.
See also: likely, not

not bloody likely

Definitely not; I refuse or disagree. A: "Are you going to Jen's party this weekend?" B: "not bloody likely! She's been a total jerk to me lately." Help him, after all the trouble he's given me? Ha, not bloody likely!
See also: bloody, likely, not

not likely

Definitely not; I refuse or disagree. A: "Are you going to Jen's party this weekend?" B: "Not likely! She's been a total jerk to me lately." Help him, after all the trouble he's given me? Ha, not likely!
See also: likely, not

*likely as not

Fig. probably; with an even chance either way. (*Also: as ~.) He will as likely as not arrive without warning. Likely as not, the game will be canceled.
See also: likely, not

Not likely.

Inf. That is probably not so; that probably will not happen. Mary: Is it possible that you'll be able to fix this watch? Sue: Not likely, but we can always try. Sally: Will John show up on time, do you think? Bob: Not likely.
See also: likely, not

in the unlikely event

If something improbable should occur. For example, In the unlikely event that I'm held up, please cover for me, or In the unlikely event that we should have snow in May, we're still well equipped to cope with it . Also see under in case, def. 2.
See also: event, unlikely

like as not

Also, as like as not; as likely as not. In all probability, with an even chance, as in Like as not it'll rain by afternoon, or Likely as not the governor will run for a second term. In the first two terms, like is short for likely in the sense of "probably," that is, "It is as likely as it is not likely." [Late 1800s]
See also: like, not

not likely

People say not likely as an emphatic way of saying no, especially when they are asked to do something. Clear up his mess for him? Not likely!
See also: likely, not

a likely story

used to express disbelief of an account or excuse.
See also: likely, story

not likely!

certainly not; I refuse. informal
See also: not

(as) like as ˈnot

,

like eˈnough

,

most/very ˈlike

(informal) quite/very probably: As like as not, he’ll be late. He usually is.
See also: like, not

as ˌlikely as ˈnot

,

most/very ˈlikely

very probably: As likely as not she’s forgotten all about it.
See also: likely, not

a ˈlikely story

(spoken, ironic) used for showing that you do not believe what somebody has said: They said they’d found the wallet on the ground outside the pub — a likely story!
See also: likely, story

not (bloodytaboo, etc.) ˈlikely!

(spoken, especially British English) used to disagree strongly with a statement or a suggestion: Sign a blank cheque for you? Not bloody likely!
See also: not
References in periodicals archive ?
They are five times likelier to use marijuana, three times likelier to drink alcohol and 12 times likelier to smoke cigarettes.
Women who had been physically or sexually abused were three times likelier to have had suicidal thoughts, and four times likelier to have attempted at least once to take their own lives, the study said.
That is, if you stop smoking, your friends are likelier than average to quit, and so are your friends' friends, and your friends' friends' friends.
Humans are almost four times likelier to share pathogens with chimpanzees than with colobus monkeys, which branched from the family tree 34.
He said: "Alloa were dangerous on the break but we always looked the likelier side.
The paper, commissioned by former top federal health officials, found that teens who smoke are 9 times likelier to meet the medical criteria for past year alcohol abuse or dependence and 13 times likelier to meet the medical criteria for abuse and dependence on an illegal drug than teens who don't smoke.
Weston then looked the likelier winners but Sam O'Sullivan, sent on as an 87th-minute substitute, sent the 600 County fans into delirium with a spectacular winner deep into stoppage time.
Researchers involved in the study said respondents who were likelier to sympathize with the Nazis tended to be elderly or relatively uneducated.
They are likelier to take riskier bets and to concentrate those bets more fully.
Compared with 13-year-olds, 14-year-olds are four times likelier to be offered prescription drugs; three times likelier to be offered Ecstasy; three times likelier to be offered marijuana and two times likelier to be offered cocaine, according to CASA.
In turn, Asian children are "e-raced" in this marketplace, according to Katz Rothman, because they are likelier candidates for honorary whiteness: "Maybe [Chinese adoptees] will change our ideas about whiteness a bit more, letting white people look Asian the way white people can now look Irish, or look Jewish, and still be white.
has increased the per-share price it is offering for European steelmaker Arcelor, andas of late May the business press viewed the deal as likelier to happen.
It beat a superior Brazil side en route to its '82 title and was the likelier winner in the '94 title game at the Rose Bowl before penalty kicks spurred Brazil's celebration.
High school students with disabilities encounter many barriers to successful transition, and thus they are likelier to drop out of school than their nondisabled peers and have more difficulties finding employment.
Matt Prior (42) and Robin Martin-Jenkins (32) later added 68 for the sixth wicket, but Middlesex looked the likelier side to force victory after Prior fell to a return catch by Styris