(redirected from probabilities)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia.
Related to probabilities: Conditional probabilities


The relative likelihood of a particular outcome among all possible outcomes.


the likelihood of a particular uncertain event occurring, measured on a scale from 0.0 (such an event is impossible) to 1.0 (such an event is certain to occur). People generally estimate probabilities on the basis of the relative frequency with which an event has occurred in the past, under given circumstances, and generalize from this past experience. In some circumstances it is easy to estimate the proportion of occasions on which an event occurs; for example, the probability of getting ‘heads’ when flipping a balanced coin is 0.5 because with such a coin in the long run we would get 50% ‘heads’ and 50% ‘tails’. In estimating probabilities in business situations, though, there may be no or only a few previous experiences that can be used to gauge the relative frequency of an event occurring. See also RISK AND UNCERTAINTY.
References in classic literature ?
Coincidences, in general, are great stumbling-blocks in the way of that class of thinkers who have been educated to know nothing of the theory of probabilities - that theory to which the most glorious objects of human research are indebted for the most glorious of illustration.
Unfortunately, our feelings do not always respect the law of probabilities, and to me that evening, the possible and the impossible were equally disquieting.
To assert that she knew me by sight as the wife of Eustace, and that she had waited on the sands and dropped her letter for the express purpose of making acquaintance with me, was also to assert every one of these monstrous probabilities to be facts that had actually happened!
It is not prose but poetry, at least a great part of it, and ought not to be judged by the rules of logic or the probabilities of history.
Fear is almost always haunted by terrible dramatic scenes, which recur in spite of the best-argued probabilities against them; and during a year that Maggie had had the burthen of concealment on her mind, the possibility of discovery had continually presented itself under the form of a sudden meeting with her father or Tom when she was walking with Philip in the Red Deeps.
The order of delays and probabilities was determined randomly prior to initiating the study, and all participants completed the questions in the same random order.
Even if we grant that a universal probability bound can be estimated to some meaningful degree of accuracy, we cannot presume that we have already even imagined all natural (nondesign) explanations, let alone assessed their true probabilities.
The product of two probabilities above gives the probability of a decisive vote in the state.
Good is that we lose nothing from a purely mathematical point of view if we choose to interpret all probabilities subjectively.
Psychology research on risk and decision-making often employs questions about gambling-where information about probabilities is given explicitly in numerical form.

Full browser ?