What does likelihood mean?

Definitions for likelihood
ˈlaɪk liˌhʊdlike·li·hood

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word likelihood.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. likelihood, likelinessnoun

    the probability of a specified outcome


  1. Likelihoodnoun

    Statistical probability; probability of being true or of occurring in the future; as, the likelihood of being abducted by aliens is close to zero..


  1. likelihoodnoun

    The probability of a specified outcome; the chance of something happening; probability; the state of being probable.

  2. likelihoodnoun

    Shorthand for likelihood function; the probability that a real world experiment would generate a specific datum, as a function of the parameters of a mathematical model.

  3. likelihoodnoun

    Likeness, resemblance.

    "There is no likelihood between pure light and black darkness, or between righteousness and reprobation." (Sir W. Raleigh)

  4. likelihoodnoun

    Appearance, show, sign, expression.

    "What of his heart perceive you in his face by any likelihood he showed to-day ?" (Shak)

  5. Etymology: likely + -hood

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Likelihood, Likelinessnoun

    Etymology: from likely.

    What of his heart perceive you in his face,
    By any likelihood he show’d to-day?
    —— That with no man here he is offended. William Shakespeare.

    The mayor and all his brethren in best sort,
    Like to the senators of antique Rome,
    Go forth and fetch their conqu’ring Cæsar in.
    As by a low, but loving likelihood,
    Were now the general of our gracious empress,
    As in good time he may, from Ireland coming,
    How many would the peaceful city quit,
    To welcome him. William Shakespeare, Henry V.

    There is no likelihood between pure light and black darkness, or between righteousness and reprobation. Walter Raleigh.

    As it noteth one such to have been in that age, so had there been moe, it would by likelihood as well have noted many. Richard Hooker, b. ii.

    Many of likelihood informed me of this before, which hung so tottering in the balance, that I could neither believe nor misdoubt. William Shakespeare, All’s well that ends well.

    It never yet did hurt,
    To lay down likelihood, and forms of hope. William Shakespeare.

    As there is no likelihood that the place could be so altered, so is there no probability that these rivers were turned out of their courses. Walter Raleigh, Hist. of the World.

    Where things are least to be put to the venture, as the eternal interests of the other world ought to be; there every, even the least, probability, or likelihood of danger, should be provided against. Robert South, Sermons.

    There are predictions of our Saviour recorded by the Evangelists, which were not completed till after their deaths, and had no likelihood of being so when they were pronounced by our blessed Saviour. Joseph Addison, on the Christian Religion.

    Thus, in all likelihood, would it be with a libertine, who should have a visit from the other world: the first horror it raised would go off, as new diversions come on. Francis Atterbury.


  1. likelihood

    The likelihood function (often simply called the likelihood) represents the probability of random variable realizations conditional on particular values of the statistical parameters. Thus, when evaluated on a given sample, the likelihood function indicates which parameter values are more likely than others, in the sense that they would have made the observed data more probable. Consequently, the likelihood is often written as L ( θ ∣ X ) {\displaystyle {\mathcal {L}}(\theta \mid X)} instead of P ( X ∣ θ ) {\displaystyle P(X\mid \theta )} , to emphasize that it is to be understood as a function of the parameters θ {\displaystyle \theta } instead of the random variable X {\displaystyle X} . In maximum likelihood estimation, the arg max of the likelihood function serves as a point estimate for θ {\displaystyle \theta } , while the Fisher information (often approximated by the likelihood's Hessian matrix) indicates the estimate's precision. Meanwhile in Bayesian statistics, parameter estimates are derived from the converse of the likelihood, the so-called posterior probability, which is calculated via Bayes' rule.


  1. likelihood

    Likelihood is a statistical concept referring to the degree of probability or chance that a particular event will occur, based on a set of observed evidence. It is often used in the context of statistical models to estimate parameters or predict outcomes. In simple terms, it is a measure of how likely it is that a given set of events would occur.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Likelihoodnoun

    appearance; show; sign; expression

  2. Likelihoodnoun

    likeness; resemblance

  3. Likelihoodnoun

    appearance of truth or reality; probability; verisimilitude

  4. Etymology: [Likely + -hood.]

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'likelihood' in Nouns Frequency: #2706

How to pronounce likelihood?

How to say likelihood in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of likelihood in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of likelihood in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of likelihood in a Sentence

  1. Chris Williamson:

    The region is on course to see a mere 0.1 percent GDP growth in the final quarter of the year, with a strong likelihood of the near-stagnation turning to renewed contraction in the new year unless demand shows signs of reviving.

  2. Annie Dillard:

    It could be that our faithlessness is a cowering cowardice born of our very smallness, a massive failure of imagination... If we were to judge nature by common sense or likelihood, we wouldn't believe the world existed.

  3. Katie McLaughlin:

    This study suggests that child maltreatment and trauma not only predict greater likelihood of developing depression and a more chronic course of depression, but also reduced likelihood of responding to antidepressant medication treatment.

  4. Frank Attenello:

    This increased hospital-acquired condition rate is significant because we found presence of at least one hospital-acquired condition to be associated with an 83 percent likelihood of increased healthcare cost and a 38 percent increase in the likelihood of a prolonged hospital stay.

  5. Andy Pekosz:

    We also need to realize case numbers are one of the things that [are] driving the likelihood of this virus acquiring mutations that make it more transmissible, if it’s a 1 in a million chance, we’ve let the dice roll 900,000 times because we haven’t been able to control cases out there. Controlling case numbers is going to be the most critical thing we do to lessen the likelihood of more variants.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for likelihood

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"likelihood." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 29 Sep. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/likelihood>.

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    the region of the body of a vertebrate between the thorax and the pelvis
    • A. tranquillity
    • B. match
    • C. abdomen
    • D. scrutiny

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