Meaning of “possibly” in the English Dictionary

"possibly" in British English

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uk /ˈpɒs.ə.bli/ us /ˈpɑː.sə.bli/

possibly adverb (NOT CERTAIN)

A2 used when something is not certain:

He may possibly decide not to come, in which case there's no problem.

used to agree or disagree when some doubt is involved:

"Do you think this skirt might be too small for her?" "(Very) possibly - she has put on a some weight."
"Will he come?" "Possibly not."

More examples

  • I might possibly get the job finished by tomorrow evening, if I have no more interruptions.
  • I'd guess that she's in her forties - 45 possibly?
  • "Are you going to be at church on Sunday morning?" "Possibly - it depends how late we get back on Saturday."
  • There were possibly a hundred people at the meeting - certainly 80.
  • I can't understand why he's so bad tempered this week - possibly something at school is upsetting him.

possibly adverb (WITH CAN/COULD)

B2 used with "can" or "could" for emphasis:

He can't possibly have drunk all that on his own!
We did all that we possibly could to persuade her to come.

B1 used in polite requests:

Could I possibly ask you to move your chair a little?

used when politely refusing offers:

"Have another chocolate." "No, really, I couldn't possibly."

(Definition of “possibly” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"possibly" in American English

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possiblyadverb [ not gradable ]

us /ˈpɑs·ə·bli/

possibly adverb [ not gradable ] ()

so as to do or achieve something:

He can’t possibly mean what he says.

possibly adverb [ not gradable ] ()

with a likelihood that might or might not be true; perhaps:

"Do you think this skirt might be too small for her?" "Possibly, she has put on weight."

(Definition of “possibly” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)