# Definition of 'probability'

1. variable noun

The probability of something happening is how likely it is to happen, sometimes expressed as a fraction or a percentage.

Without a transfusion, the victim's probability of dying was 100%.

The probabilities of crime or victimization are higher with some situations than with
others.

You cannot prove conclusively that Sellafield caused cancer. You can only work on
the basis of probability.

2. variable noun

[vagueness]

There's an excellent probability that unless action is quickly taken, pipes will freeze.

If you've owned property for several years, the probability is that values have increased.

Formal talks are still said to be a possibility, not a probability.

His story-telling can push the bounds of probability a bit far at times.

COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers

noun plural -ties

1.

the condition of being probable

2.

an event or other thing that is probable

3. statistics

a measure or estimate of the degree of confidence one may have in the occurrence of an event, measured on a scale from zero (impossibility) to one (certainty). It may be defined as the proportion of favourable outcomes to the total number of possibilities if these are indifferent (mathematical probability), or the proportion observed in a sample (empirical probability), or the limit of this as the sample size tends to infinity (relative frequency), or by more subjective criteria (subjective probability)

Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers

nounWord forms: plural ˌprobaˈbilities

1.

the quality or state of being probable; likelihood

2.

something probable

**Idioms:**

Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition. Copyright © 2010 by
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

## Word origin of 'probability'

MFr probabilité < L probabilitas## Example sentences containing 'probability'

But this is not all about mathematical probabilities and game theory.

Times, Sunday Times (2007)It increased the probability that one of the approaches would work.

Times, Sunday Times (2007)There is a very high probability of the latter.

The Sun (2015)What percentage probability should it give to the chance that the currency might collapse altogether?

Times, Sunday Times (2012) Financial Markets, Institutions and Money (1995)To be terrified implies acceptance of the probability that something with the potential to distress is about to happen.

Times, Sunday Times (2009)The shareholders quite rightly decided that jam today was preferable to a high degree of probability that there would be jam tomorrow.

Times, Sunday Times (2006) Times, Sunday Times (2009) Times, Sunday Times (2011)In these four days you have a higher probability of meeting powerful or influential people than in all the rest of the year.

Times, Sunday Times (2016) Times, Sunday Times (2006)And where there aren't facts there are high probabilities.

Times, Sunday Times (2016) Times, Sunday Times (2009)The more that firms borrow, the higher the probability of loss and therefore the lower the expected tax shield.

Principles of Corporate Finance (1991)The probability is quite high.

The Sun (2016) Times, Sunday Times (2010) The Sun (2014) Times, Sunday Times (2009) Times, Sunday Times (2013) Advanced Educational Psychology For Educators, Researchers and Policymakers, (1995) The Times Literary Supplement (2010)If your parents are rich, the likelihood of your being rich is as high as the probability of your being tall if your parents are tall.

Times, Sunday Times (2006)There was a 30 per cent chance that a team with a 7 per cent or less probability of promotion would be promoted.

Times, Sunday Times (2013)The upshot was that one million fewer coach journeys were taken and, in all probability, one million fewer visits to grandchildren made.

Times, Sunday Times (2013)## Word Lists

Mathematical terms## Trends of 'probability'

View usage over:

## Translations for 'probability'

British English: probability /ˌprɒbəˈbɪlɪtɪ/
NOUN

The

The

*probability*of something happening is how likely it is to happen, sometimes expressed as a fraction or a percentage.The probability of a cure is 80%.- Arabic: اِحْتِمَال
- Brazilian Portuguese: probabilidade
- Chinese: 概率
- Croatian: vjerojatnost
- Czech: pravděpodobnost
- Danish: sandsynlighed
- Dutch: waarschijnlijkheid
- European Spanish: probabilidad
- Finnish: todennäköisyys
- French: probabilité
- German: Wahrscheinlichkeit
- Greek: πιθανότητα
- Italian: probabilità
- Japanese: 見込み
- Korean: 개연성
- Norwegian: sannsynlighet
- Polish: prawdopodobieństwo
- Portuguese: probabilidade
- Romanian: probabilitate
*probabilități* - Russian: вероятность
- Spanish: probabilidad
- Swedish: sannolikhet
- Thai: ความน่าจะเป็นไปได้
- Turkish: olasılık
- Ukrainian: можливість
- Vietnamese: xác suất

## Source

Definition of

**probability**from the Collins English DictionaryWe take a look at the etymology behind the word 'election' on the run up to the UK General Election in June

Language expert Ian Brookes looks at the word 'election' and its origins.

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