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like·ly / ˈlīklē/ • adj. (like·li·er, like·li·est) 1. such as well might happen or be true; probable: the likely effects of the drought on sugar beet yields it was likely that he would make a televised statement sales are likely to drop further. 2. apparently suitable; promising: a likely-looking spot. ∎  appearing to have vigor or ability: likely lads.• adv. probably: we will most likely go to a bar.PHRASES: a likely story used to express disbelief in an account or excuse: Gone running, has he? A likely story!as likely as not probably: I won't take their pills because as likely as not they'd poison me.not likely! inf. certainly not; I refuse: “Are you going home?” “Not likely!”DERIVATIVES: like·li·ness n.