Probable vs. Possible

By Jaxson

  • Probable

    Probability is the measure of the likelihood that an event will occur. See glossary of probability and statistics. Probability is quantified as a number between 0 and 1, where, loosely speaking, 0 indicates impossibility and 1 indicates certainty. The higher the probability of an event, the more likely it is that the event will occur. A simple example is the tossing of a fair (unbiased) coin. Since the coin is fair, the two outcomes (“heads” and “tails”) are both equally probable; the probability of “heads” equals the probability of “tails”; and since no other outcomes are possible, the probability of either “heads” or “tails” is 1/2 (which could also be written as 0.5 or 50%).

    These concepts have been given an axiomatic mathematical formalization in probability theory, which is used widely in such areas of study as mathematics, statistics, finance, gambling, science (in particular physics), artificial intelligence/machine learning, computer science, game theory, and philosophy to, for example, draw inferences about the expected frequency of events. Probability theory is also used to describe the underlying mechanics and regularities of complex systems.

  • Probable (adjective)

    Likely or most likely to be true.

    “It’s probable that it will rain tomorrow.”

    “The probable source of the failure was the mass of feathers in the intake manifold.”

  • Probable (adjective)

    Likely to happen.

    “With all the support we have, success is looking probable.”

  • Probable (adjective)

    Supporting, or giving ground for, belief, but not demonstrating.

    “probable evidence; probable presumption”

  • Probable (adjective)

    Capable of being proved.

  • Probable (noun)

    Something that it likely to occur

  • Probable (noun)

    A person that is likely to appear or do a certain thing.

  • Possible (adjective)

    Able but not certain to happen; neither inevitable nor impossible.


    “Rain tomorrow is possible, but I wouldn’t bet on it.”

    “It’s not just possible, it’s probable.”

  • Possible (adjective)

    Capable of being done or achieved; feasible.


    “It’s possible for anyone to learn to pay the bagpipes.”

  • Possible (adjective)

    Being considered, e.g. for a position.

    “Jones and Smith are both possible for the opening in sales.”

  • Possible (adjective)

    Apparently valid, likely, plausible.



  • Possible (noun)

    A possible one.

  • Possible (noun)

    A possible choice, notably someone being considered for a position.

    “Jones is a possible for the new opening in sales.”

  • Possible (noun)

    A particular event that may happen.


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