# Possibility vs. Probability — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on October 26, 2023

**"Possibility" refers to something that might occur, without quantifying its likelihood. "Probability" gauges the likelihood of an event happening, often in numerical terms.**

## Difference Between Possibility and Probability

### Table of Contents

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## Key Differences

Possibility and Probability, though used interchangeably at times, possess distinct meanings. Possibility simply touches on the potential of an event or outcome materializing, without diving into the odds or certainty of its occurrence. On the flip side, Probability is the mathematical or statistical measure of how likely that event is to happen.

Delving into Possibility, one discerns that it's a binary concept. Either something is possible or it isn't. If it's conceivable that it might rain tomorrow, then there's a Possibility of rain. Probability, however, paints a richer picture. If there's a 70% chance of rain tomorrow, that's the Probability of the event.

Within varied contexts, Possibility can allude to potential scenarios or outcomes. Imagine a detective considering the Possibility of multiple suspects. Meanwhile, Probability is often married to numeric evaluations, giving it a quantifiable nature. A weather forecast, for instance, might pinpoint the Probability of thunderstorms at 60%.

In essence, Possibility delineates the spectrum of what could be, enveloping every conceivable outcome. However, Probability sharpens the focus, providing clarity on the likelihood of each potential outcome. It's the difference between acknowledging the Possibility of finding a needle in a haystack and quantifying the Probability of that event.

In summation, while both terms explore future events or outcomes, Possibility presents a more open-ended view, whereas Probability quantifies, categorizes, and often numerically represents the chances of those outcomes.

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## Comparison Chart

### Meaning

Something that might occur.

Likelihood of an event occurring.

### Nature

Qualitative

Quantitative

### Usage Context

Potential outcomes or scenarios.

Statistical or numeric evaluations.

### Certainty

Does not indicate certainty.

Indicates likelihood or certainty.

### Representation

Often non-numeric.

Usually numeric (e.g., percentage).

## Compare with Definitions

#### Possibility

A thing that may happen or be the case.

Moving abroad is a possibility for her.

#### Probability

A branch of mathematics dealing with chance events.

He studied probability in his math class.

#### Possibility

The state or fact of something being possible.

The possibility of failure always exists.

#### Probability

The measure of the likelihood of an event happening.

The probability of winning the lottery is very low.

#### Possibility

Potential for future success or development.

She saw the possibility in the new project.

#### Probability

A probable event or the most probable event.

Rain is a probability tomorrow.

#### Possibility

An unspecified but considerable number or amount.

He has written a possibility of books on the topic.

#### Probability

The extent to which an event is likely to happen.

There's a high probability we'll complete the project on time.

#### Possibility

(obsolete) Capability, power or capacity to act.

#### Probability

The quality or state of being probable.

The probability of his theory being correct is debated.

#### Possibility

A thing that may happen or be the case

There was the possibility that he might be turned down

Relegation remains a distinct possibility

#### Probability

Probability is the branch of mathematics concerning numerical descriptions of how likely an event is to occur, or how likely it is that a proposition is true. The probability of an event is a number between 0 and 1, where, roughly speaking, 0 indicates impossibility of the event and 1 indicates certainty.

#### Possibility

The fact or state of being possible

Investigating the possibility of life on other planets.

#### Probability

The quality or state of being probable; the extent to which something is likely to happen or be the case

The rain will make the probability of a postponement even greater

#### Possibility

Something that is possible

His promotion now seems a possibility.

#### Probability

The quality or condition of being probable; likelihood.

#### Possibility

One that is capable of being chosen or of being made real

She is a strong possibility in the senatorial race. There are several possibilities for dessert.

#### Probability

A probable situation, condition, or event

Her election is a clear probability.

#### Possibility

Possibilities Potentiality for favorable or interesting results

The idea has great possibilities.

#### Probability

The likelihood that a given event will occur

Little probability of rain tonight.

#### Possibility

The quality of being possible.

#### Probability

(Statistics) A number, ranging from zero to one, expressing either the projected likelihood that a specific event will occur or the observed ratio of the number of actual occurrences to the number of possible occurrences.

#### Possibility

A thing possible; that which may take place or come into being.

#### Probability

The state of being probable; likelihood.

#### Possibility

An option or choice, usually used in context with future events.

#### Probability

An event that is likely to occur.

#### Possibility

The quality or state of being possible; the power of happening, being, or existing.

#### Probability

The relative likelihood of an event happening.

#### Possibility

That which is possible; a contingency; a thing or event that may not happen; a contingent interest, as in real or personal estate.

#### Probability

(mathematics) A number, between 0 and 1, expressing the precise likelihood of an event happening.

The probability of an event A occurring is denoted P(A).

#### Possibility

A future prospect or potential;

This room has great possibilities

#### Probability

The quality or state of being probable; appearance of reality or truth; reasonable ground of presumption; likelihood.

Probability is the appearance of the agreement or disagreement of two ideas, by the intervention of proofs whose connection is not constant, but appears for the most part to be so.

#### Possibility

Capability of existing or happening or being true;

There is a possibility that his sense of smell has been impaired

#### Probability

That which is or appears probable; anything that has the appearance of reality or truth.

The whole life of man is a perpetual comparison of evidence and balancing of probabilities.

We do not call for evidence till antecedent probabilities fail.

#### Possibility

A tentative theory about the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena;

A scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing becomes a scientific theory

He proposed a fresh theory of alkalis that later was accepted in chemical practices

#### Probability

A measure of how likely it is that some event will occur;

What is the probability of rain?

We have a good chance of winning

#### Possibility

A possible alternative;

Bankruptcy is always a possibility

#### Probability

The quality of being probable

#### Possibility

One of several potential outcomes.

There are several possibilities for the conference venue.

## Common Curiosities

#### Does "Possibility" always mean something will happen?

No, it simply indicates that something might happen.

#### Is "Possibility" used in mathematics?

Not in the same quantifiable manner as "Probability".

#### Can "Probability" be expressed as a percentage?

Yes, often "Probability" is presented as a percentage or fraction.

#### Does "Probability" always need a numeric value?

Not always, but it often has one to express likelihood.

#### Do "Possibility" and "Probability" mean the same?

No, "Possibility" implies potential occurrence, while "Probability" measures likelihood.

#### Which is more precise, "Possibility" or "Probability"?

"Probability" is more precise, often quantifying likelihood.

#### Does "Possibility" offer certainty?

No, it only highlights potential occurrences.

#### Can "Probability" be zero or one (100%)?

Yes, representing impossible and certain events respectively.

#### Can there be multiple "Possibilities" for one event?

Yes, an event can have various possible outcomes.

#### Are "Possibility" and "Probability" used in decision-making?

Yes, to assess potential outcomes and their likelihoods.

#### Is "Probability" only about future events?

No, it can assess past events' likelihood given certain data.

#### How is "Probability" used in daily life?

It's used to gauge the likelihood of events, like weather forecasts.

#### Can "Possibility" be subjective?

Yes, what's possible for one person might not be for another.

#### How does "Probability" affect risk assessment?

High probability can indicate high risk in certain contexts.

#### Do "Possibility" and "Probability" relate to certainty?

While "Possibility" doesn't guarantee an event, "Probability" gauges its likelihood.

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Written by

Tayyaba RehmanTayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.