likely


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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

*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

as likely as not

probably as like as not She didn't usually work all night, but she was as likely as not to be at the lab at any given time.
See also: likely, not

A likely story.

something that you say when you do not believe that an explanation is true He claims he thought he was drinking low alcohol lager. A likely story. So he was just giving her a friendly hug because she was upset, was he? That's a likely story if ever I heard one.
See also: likely, story

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
References in classic literature ?
Had Mademoiselle Hennequin been an American girl, he would not have thought a second time of the emotion she had betrayed in regarding my beauties; but he had been taught to believe all French women managing and hypocritical; a notion that the experience of a young man in Paris would not be very likely to destroy.
I don't think the old woman would be likely to marry again at her time of life.
He must give up the notion of his father's legacy; but it was not likely he would ever want that trifle; and even if he did--why, it was a compensation to think that in being for ever divided from his family he was divided from Jacob, more terrible than Gorgon or Demogorgon to David's timid green eyes.
Very likely not; but you have been no loser by my trade yet," said Mr.
But why do you say the only friends you are likely to have?
You do not strike one," she remarked, "as the sort of person likely to lose a fortune on the race-course.
Do you know," she said, "I should never have called you a dreamer, a man likely to fancy things.
In the second place, the doctor would, in all probability, have occasion to write to his daughter, or would be likely to receive letters from her; and, if I quieted all suspicion on my account, by docile behavior, and kept my eyes sharply on the lookout, I might find opportunities of surprising the secrets of his writing-desk.
Hence trees would be little likely to reach distant oceanic islands; and an herbaceous plant, though it would have no chance of successfully competing in stature with a fully developed tree, when established on an island and having to compete with herbaceous plants alone, might readily gain an advantage by growing taller and taller and overtopping the other plants.
As the amount of modification in all cases depends to a certain degree on the lapse of time, and as during changes of level it is obvious that islands separated by shallow channels are more likely to have been continuously united within a recent period to the mainland than islands separated by deeper channels, we can understand the frequent relation between the depth of the sea and the degree of affinity of the mammalian inhabitants of islands with those of a neighbouring continent,--an inexplicable relation on the view of independent acts of creation.
And may we not say confidently of man also, that he who is likely to be gentle to his friends and acquaintances, must by nature be a lover of wisdom and knowledge?
We can say simply: The animal's behaviour during the last minute has had those characteristics which distinguish what is called "hunger," and it is likely that its actions during the next minute will be similar in this respect, unless it finds food, or is interrupted by a stronger impulse, such as fear.
There is first a state of activity, consisting, with qualifications to be mentioned presently, of movements likely to have a certain result; these movements, unless interrupted, continue until the result is achieved, after which there is usually a period of comparative quiescence.
Tulliver to go,--even if he had been able and willing,--for he had been "going to law against Wakem" and abusing him for the last ten years; Wakem was always likely to have a spite against him.
Glegg that she wouldn't mind going to speak to Wakem herself, they had said, "No, no, no," and "Pooh, pooh," and "Let Wakem alone," in the tone of men who were not likely to give a candid attention to a more definite exposition of her project; still less dared she mention the plan to Tom and Maggie, for "the children were always so against everything their mother said"; and Tom, she observed, was almost as much set against Wakem as his father was.