|a gadget; dingus; thingumbob.|
|an extraordinary or unusual thing, person, or event; an exceptional example or instance.|
|—n , pl -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)|
|probability (prŏb'ə-bĭl'ĭ-tē) Pronunciation Key
A number expressing the likelihood of the occurrence of a given event, especially a fraction expressing how many times the event will happen in a given number of tests or experiments. For example, when rolling a six-sided die, the probability of rolling a particular side is 1 in 6, or 1/6 .
A number between zero and one that shows how likely a certain event is. Usually, probability is expressed as a ratio: the number of experimental results that would produce the event divided by the number of experimental results considered possible. Thus, the probability of drawing the ten of clubs from an ordinary deck of cards is one in fifty-two (1:52), or one fifty-second.
see in all probability.
the branches of mathematics concerned with the laws governing random events, including the collection, analysis, interpretation, and display of numerical data. Probability has its origin in the study of gambling and insurance in the 17th century, and it is now an indispensable tool of both social and natural sciences. Statistics may be said to have its origin in census counts taken thousands of years ago; as a distinct scientific discipline, however, it was developed in the early 19th century as the study of populations, economies, and moral actions and later in that century as the mathematical tool for analyzing such numbers. For technical information on these subjects, see probability theory and statistics.
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