late 14c., "not likely to occur," from un- (1) "not" + likely (adj.). Similar formation in Old Norse ulikligr, Middle Danish uligelig. Meaning "not likely to be true" is recorded from 1590s. Related: Unlikeliness; unlikelihood.
mid-15c., "improbably," from un- (1) "not" + likely (adv.) (see likely (adj.)).
legislation on the question is highly unlikely
an unlikely candidate for reelection
an unlikely story
a butcher is unlikely to preach vegetarianism