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EU Definitions


The likelihood of an occurrence, an outcome or a result, where this can be estimated probabilistically. [1]

European Project Definitions

CIPRNet project

The CIPRNet project [2] uses the following definition:

Likelihood is the chance of something happening.

RESIN project

The RESIN project [3] gives the following definition:

The chance of a specific outcome occurring, where this might be estimated probabilistically. [4]

Other International Definitions


A probabilistic estimate of the occurrence of a single event or of an outcome, for example, a climate parameter, observed trend, or projected change lying in a given range. Likelihood may be based on statistical or modeling analyses, elicitation of expert views, or other quantitative analyses. [5]

National Definitions


(I risikoanalyser) brukes ofte sannsynlighet som mål på hvor trolig vi mener det er at en bestemt hendelse vil inntreffe, gitt vårt kunnskapsgrunnlag. [6]

(In risk analyses) likelihood is often used as an expression of how likely we think it is that a specific event will occur, given our knowledge base. [7]

United Kingdom (UK)

Likelihood is the chance of an event or outcome occurring, usually expressed as a probability. [8]

United States

Estimate of the potential of an incident or event’s occurrence. [9]

Standard Definition


Likelihood is the quantitative estimation that an action, event or incident may occur. [10]

ISO 73:2009

Chance of something happening. [11]

Discussion Topic

See also


  1. European Climate Adaptation Platform (CLIMATE-ADAPT) Glossary
  4. Mach, K.J., S. Planton and C. von Stechow (eds.). Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Annex II: Glossary. [Core Writing Team, R.K. Pachauri and L.A. Meyer (eds.)]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland, pp. 117-130.
  5. IPCC, 2012: Glossary of terms. In: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation [Field, C.B., V. Barros, T.F. Stocker, D. Qin, D.J. Dokken, K.L. Ebi, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, G.-K. Plattner, S.K. Allen, M. Tignor, and P.M. Midgley (eds.). A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York, NY, USA, pp. 555-564.]
  6. DSB, National Risikobild 2014
  7. DSB, National Risk Analysis 2014
  8. The National Adaptation Programme: Making the country resilient to a changing climate, UK Government (2013)
  9. DHS Risk Lexicon 2010 Edition, September 2010
  10. ISA WG7; IEC 62443-2-1(2010-11)
  11. ISO Guide 73:2009 Risk management -- Vocabulary