## Definition of Probability

(*noun*) The likelihood an event will occur, expressed as a number between 0 and 1 (i.e., 0.5 indicates 1/2 or 50%).

## Examples of Probability

- The probability that it will rain tomorrow.
- The probability of a flipped coin landing on heads or tails.

## Probability Pronunciation

Syllabification: **prob·a·bil·i·ty**

Audio Pronunciation

Phonetic Spelling

- American English – /prahb-uh-bIl-uh-tee/
- British English – /prob-uh-bIl-i-tee/

International Phonetic Alphabet

- American English – /ˌprɑbəˈbɪlᵻdi/
- British English – /ˌprɒbəˈbɪlᵻti/

### Usage Notes

- Plural:
**probabilities** - Probability is the study of randomness or chance, as such finds its origins in gambling.
- Karl Pearson (1857–1936) helped establish the discipline of statistics and founded the first statistics department at the University College of London.
- Type: divorce probability
- Also called
**chance**.

### Additional Information

- Quantitative Research Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “probability” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com

### Related Terms

- attribute
- control group
- correlation
- data
- descriptive statistics
- inferential statistics
- random sample
- reliability
- spurious correlation
- statistics
- statistical analysis

#### Works Consulted

Babbie, Earl. 2013. *The Practice of Social Research*. 13th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Bryman, Alan. 2012. *Social Research Methods*. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Burdess, Neil. 2010. *Starting Statistics: A Short, Clear Guide*. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Cramer, Duncan, and Dennis Howitt. 2004. *The SAGE Dictionary of Statistics: A Practical Resource for Students in the Social Sciences*. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Farlex. (N.d.) *TheFreeDictionary.com: Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Thesaurus*. Farlex. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/).

Fioramonti, Lorenzo. 2014. *How Numbers Rule the World: The Use and Abuse of Statistics in Global Politics*. London: Zed Books.

Larson, Ron, and Elizabeth Farber. 2015. *Elementary Statistics: Picturing the World*. 6th ed. Boston: Pearson.

Oxford University Press. (N.d.)* Oxford Dictionaries*. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Salkind, Neil J., ed. 2007. *Encyclopedia of Measurement and Statistics*. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Taylor & Francis. (N.d.) *Routledge Handbooks Online*. (https://www.routledgehandbooks.com/).

Weinstein, Jay A. 2010. *Applying Social Statistics: An Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning in Sociology*. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.)* Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia*. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.)* Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary*. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).

Wiley. (N.d.) *Wiley Online Library*. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/).

#### Cite the Definition of Probability

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2015. “probability.” In * Open Education Sociology Dictionary*. Retrieved October 25, 2020 (https://sociologydictionary.org/probability/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

probability. (2015). In K. Bell (Ed.), *Open education sociology dictionary*. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/probability/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2015. “probability.” In* Open Education Sociology Dictionary*. Accessed October 25, 2020. https://sociologydictionary.org/probability/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“probability.” *Open Education Sociology Dictionary*. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2015. Web. 25 Oct. 2020. <https://sociologydictionary.org/probability/>.