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Related to likeliest: flexibly, went astray, goes astray, likelier
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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

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

like as not

Probably; most likely. Emma's a real bookworm—like as not, you'll find her curled up with a book on a Friday night. I'm hoping to get there before dinner, but with trains being so delayed lately, like as not it'll be closer to bed time.
See also: like, 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 ?
Likeliest option: Scott Williams, Jonathan Davies HALF-BACKS Things have suddenly got a whole lot more interesting at No.
It is becoming clear that exomoons could be one of the likeliest places to find alien life," said Bill Borucki, an astronomer at Nasa's Ames Research Centre and the principal scientist on the Kepler mission.
The likeliest solutions are raising the melt or die temperature, but increasing roll temperature is another possibility.
A loan move seems the likeliest option, with Inter looking to save on Vieira's wages which work out at pounds 80,000-a-week.
Rory Delap's long throws were predictably the likeliest threat of a goal throughout and Stoke's more physical approach always posed problems.
Simply strap the AT-5 to a tree, a wood post or a metal fence post and then tilt and pivot the camera angle to cover the likeliest spots.
Cooper is inclined to forgive that effort and points to a season beginning in April as the likeliest reason for her lacklustre showing.
The likeliest explanation: "People come to think that it is okay to be bigger since those around them are bigger, and this sensibility spreads," says co-author Nicholas Christakis of the Harvard Medical School.
Defending champion Barcelona and English champion Chelsea, paired together in Group A, seem the likeliest favorites, but 2005 champ Liverpool, their English rivals Arsenal and Manchester United, Real Madrid and Italian ``champion'' Inter Milan also have solid hopes of playing in the final next May 23 in Athens.
Though terrorism and Mother Nature remain potent and uncertain dangers, it is America's fiscal gluttony and shaky monetary policy that are emerging as the likeliest threats to world stability and peace.
While a disaster itself is often natural, there is nothing natural about the demographics of the likeliest victims.
The FIRST RESPONSE[R] Easy-Read Ovulation Test can predict the two days each month when ovulation is likeliest to happen, helping women get pregnant sooner than without using an ovulation test.
An away victory is the likeliest outcome, but betting is all about getting the value and the prices suggest the best value on this game is the draw at around the 9-4 mark.
VW wants to have more production bases in this region and Indonesia is one of the likeliest choices, " Wenda said.