9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[prob-uh-buh l] /ˈprɒb ə bəl/
likely to occur or prove true:
He foresaw a probable business loss. He is the probable writer of the article.
having more evidence for than against, or evidence that inclines the mind to belief but leaves some room for doubt.
affording ground for belief.
Origin of probable
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin probābilis likely, literally, capable of standing a test, equivalent to probā(re) to test (see probe) + -bilis -ble
Related forms
nonprobable, adjective
nonprobably, adverb
quasi-probable, adjective
quasi-probably, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for probable
  • That's one reason that continued fast growth among global for-profits seems probable.
  • It is probable that the coalition will continue in government.
  • Rather, the researchers have identified large icebergs as the probable cause.
  • If a new patient tests positive, it is actually more probable that the patient is healthy than sick.
  • One prediction, based on the probable package labeling, is that they could remain on shelves for three more years.
  • That, in turn, will make a euro-zone exit more probable.
  • Almost as weird as the shower's name is its probable origin.
  • Researchers reported last year that they'd found a probable umami receptor.
  • The probable cause they cited instead was the generally deplorable state of hygiene in the hospital.
  • They advance the standard of what's probable from an all-mountain boot.
British Dictionary definitions for probable


likely to be or to happen but not necessarily so
most likely: the probable cause of the accident
a person who is probably to be chosen for a team, event, etc
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Latin probābilis that may be proved, from probāre to prove
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for probable

late 14c., from Old French probable "provable, demonstrable" (14c.), from Latin probabilis "worthy of approval, pleasing, agreeable, acceptable; provable, that may be assumed to be believed, credible," from probare "to try, to test" (see prove). Probable cause as a legal term is attested from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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