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Related to improbability: disarms


n. pl. im·prob·a·bil·i·ties
1. The quality or condition of being improbable.
2. Something improbable.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.



as a pig loves marjoram Not at all. This now rarely heard emphatic rejoinder derives from the maxim of the Roman poet Lucretius: Amaricinum fugitatsus ‘swine shun marjoram.’

Chinaman’s chance No chance at all; little or no prospect of gaining, achieving, or reaching one’s immediate goal; the near certainty of being thwarted. It is assumed that the phrase derives from the days of the California gold rush (1849) when the Chinese immigrants were victims of discrimination and ill-treatment. Minorities, specifically the Chinese, were denied the opportunity of “striking it rich” and partaking of the “American Dream.”

dark horse An unlikely winner, a long shot; an unfamiliar or unexpected candidate for political office; a person whose abilities and potential are unknown. The term originally referred to a horse whose ability and promise were kept secret until the day of the race. The evolution of the phrase’s figurative meaning in American politics is obvious. A political candidate whose nomination is the result of a compromise is often called a dark horse.

in a pig’s eye No way, not on your life, fat chance. The phrase carries the conviction of absolute certainty, in the negative sense; it is often spoken with a degree of disgust or contentiousness, in response to another’s expression of optimism or likelihood. No origin or explanation of this frequently used phrase has been found. A remote possibility is that it relates to a once popular shipboard game “placing the pig’s eye,” in which the figure of a pig was outlined on the deck, and blindfolded passengers or crew had to place an object representative of a pig’s eye in the proper anatomical position. Their chances of success were slim at best.

a snowball’s chance in hell No chance at all, absolutely no possibility; also, a snow flake’s chance in hell; usually in the phrase as much chance as a snowball in hell. This self-evident American slang expression has been in use since 1931.

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.improbability - the quality of being improbable; "impossibility should never be confused with improbability"; "the improbability of such rare coincidences"
uncertainness, uncertainty, precariousness - being unsettled or in doubt or dependent on chance; "the uncertainty of the outcome"; "the precariousness of his income"
unlikelihood, unlikeliness - the improbability of a specified outcome
probability - the quality of being probable; a probable event or the most probable event; "for a while mutiny seemed a probability"; "going by past experience there was a high probability that the visitors were lost"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


noun unlikelihood, uncertainty, dubiety, doubtfulness, unthinkability the improbability of such an outcome
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002
عَدَم احْتِمال وُقوع
ólíkindi; ósennileiki
mümkün olmama


[ɪmˌprɒbəˈbɪlɪtɪ] N (= unlikelihood) → improbabilidad f; (= implausibility) → inverosimilitud f
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ɪmˌprɒbəˈbɪlɪti] n (= unlikeliness) → caractère m improbable
the improbability of such an outcome → le caractère improbable d'une telle issue
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ɪmˌprɒbəˈbɪlɪtɪ] n (see adj) → improbabilità, inverosimiglianza
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(imˈprobəbl) adjective
1. not likely to happen or exist; not probable. Although death at his age was improbable, he had already made his will.
2. hard to believe. an improbable explanation.
imˈprobably adverb
imˌprobaˈbility noun
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
The improbability of the attempt may be satisfactorily inferred from this single reflection, that it could never be made without causing an immediate revolt of the great body of the people, headed and directed by the State governments.
She might be defined, I reflected, as The Woman Who Is Worthy Of Us; but the improbability which every healthily conceited young man must feel of ever finding such a one made the definition seem a little unserviceable.
The improbability of such a mercenary and perfidious combination of the several members of government, standing on as different foundations as republican principles will well admit, and at the same time accountable to the society over which they are placed, ought alone to quiet this apprehension.
It seemed incredible that a human being could best the king of beasts in personal encounter and yet before her very eyes there was taking place just such an improbability.
General Brice, studying him closely, felt compelled to admit the improbability of his vague suspicions.
Added to this, he could not bear the idea of again returning to this dangerous place; and as for the expectation of persuading the Frenchmen to detach a boat's crew for the purpose of rescuing me from the Typees, he looked upon it as idle; and with arguments that I could not answer, urged the improbability of their provoking the hostilities of the clan by any such measure; especially, as for the purpose of quieting its apprehensions, they had as yet refrained from making any visit to the bay.
But for the wild improbability of the thing she would have wondered whether indeed he knew her secret.
Consider the improbability. He had been accustomed to call her his child, and his dear child, and to invite her confidence by dwelling upon the difference in their respective ages, and to speak of himself as one who was turning old.
Yet, despite the outrageous improbability of our conversation, my heart shook within me.
He could think of nothing cleverer than the daring improbability of saying that he wanted to see Rosy, and wished to know if she were at home this evening; and he was going desperately to carry out this weak device, when a waiter came up to him with a message, saying that Mr.
Nevertheless, knowing you as I do, I believe it to be my best course to allow you to judge for yourself as to the improbability of his possessing any valuable secret.
"All these circumstances did not strike me as painfully at the time as they have since done; in fact, all that had happened (with the exception of the story of the diamond, which certainly did wear an air of improbability), appeared natural enough, and called for neither apprehension nor mistrust; but, worn out as I was with fatigue, and fully purposing to proceed onwards directly the tempest abated, I determined to obtain a few hours' sleep.