'probability' refer to 'greater possibility', but how to denote a generic word that mean 'less possibility' in English?


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    You are wrong about probability, which does not denote "greater possibility." Probability denotes the relative possibility that an event will occur. It is equally likely to denote a small likelihood as it is to denote a high likelihood of the event's occurrence. If you want to denote a lesser possibility, unlikelihood may suffice. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Jul 21 '17 at 4:50
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    The confusion may be because "probable" does denote a greater likelihood than "possible". The same does not apply to "probability" and "possibility", however. (Not in formal usage, at least, though now that I think about it I may have heard it used informally in that way.) – Tim Pederick Jul 21 '17 at 11:02
  • It is unclear how you want to use the word. As noted in other comments your assumption is wrong. It would be possible to answer this if show us how you intend to use the words. I suggested "a chance" as a possible answer. However unless we see how you want to use the words "probability" and "possibility" I don't think the question is clear enough to answer – James K Jul 25 '17 at 8:36
  • You can edit your question to add how you want to use the words. This will make your question clearer. – James K Jul 25 '17 at 10:00

There is difficulty because "probability" has a technical meaning, that doesn't quite match the adjective "probable".

It would be correct to say that the probability is 0.001%. But you wouldn't say that such an event was probable. On the other hand you don't give numeric values to "possibilities". An example may illustrate this:

Moldova plays Spain at football. There are three possibilities: Moldova can win, lose or draw. The probability of a win is very low, less than 1%.

If you want a noun you could use "a chance": "There is a chance that Moldova will win". The phrase "outside chance" is more explicitly low in probability.

If you can use an adjective, things are easier, since the adjective "probable" does imply more likely than "possible".

The BBC recommends this list for students of maths.

certain > very likely > likely > evens > unlikely > very unlikely > impossible.

"Likely" is synonymous with "probable". Possible, but not probable, covers the range from "evens" to very unlikely.

You could use "very unlikely" to describe an event such as "It is very unlikely that Moldova will beat Spain."

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    Note that in the US, evens is not used. Modulo proper sentence construction, we might use "even odds," "toss-up", or "50-50." – Adam Jul 21 '17 at 17:40
  • thanks. do you have a single word for my question? – user239460 Jul 24 '17 at 14:50
  • Yes, and it is bolded in the answer to make it easy to find. But you should read the answer to understand th t the assumptions that you make about the meanings of "probability" and "possibility" are not completely correct. Also read PE Dants comment, though I don't like his suggestion of "unlikelyhood". Its a mouthful and I'm not quite sure of its meaning. – James K Jul 24 '17 at 16:04
  • I had read them and i understand what you said. do you mean 'a chance', but it's not a single word? – user239460 Jul 25 '17 at 7:50
  • "chance" is a single word, which when used as a countable noun indicates a low likelyhood of something happening. But fundamentally your question assumes that probability > possibility and that is not correct. I think that your question is unclear, as it is not clear how you want to use the words. – James K Jul 25 '17 at 8:33

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