Meaning of POSSIBLE in English


I. pos ‧ si ‧ ble 1 S1 W1 /ˈpɒsəb ə l, ˈpɒsɪb ə l $ ˈpɑː-/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ possibility ≠ ↑ impossibility , the impossible, ↑ possible ; adverb : ↑ possibly ≠ ↑ impossibly ; adjective : ↑ possible ≠ ↑ impossible ]

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: French ; Origin: Latin possibilis , from posse 'to be able' ]

1 . if something is possible, it can be done or achieved OPP impossible :

Is it possible to get tickets for the game?

It might be possible for the documents to be sent over.

Computer technology makes it possible for many people to work from home.

I want to avoid the rush hour traffic if possible.

I walk or use public transport whenever possible.

We are doing everything possible to track down the killer.

Our staff will help you in every way possible.

Even if it were technically possible, we do not have the money to do it.

She decided to stay as far away from him as was humanly possible.

2 . as soon/quickly/much etc as possible as soon, quickly etc as you can:

I need the money as soon as possible.

Sharon always does as little work as possible.

The original features of the house have been preserved as far as possible (=as much as possible) .

3 . a possible answer, cause etc might be true:

There seem to be only two possible explanations.

the possible causes of a child’s learning difficulties

it is possible (that)

It’s possible that the letter got lost in the post.

4 . a possible event or thing might happen or exist:

Heavy rain is possible later in the day.

the possible effect on the health of local people

You need to look at the possible consequences of your actions.

In Hollywood, anything is possible (=anything can happen, even though it may seem very unlikely) .

5 . the best/biggest/fastest etc possible the best etc that can exist or be achieved:

Try to get the best possible price.

What is the worst possible thing that could happen?

6 . would it be possible (for somebody) to do something? spoken used when asking politely if you can do or have something:

Would it be possible to speak to Oliver?

• • •


■ phrases

▪ it is possible to do something

From the hilltop it was possible to see the sea.

▪ make it possible to do something

Medical advances have made it possible to keep more patients alive.

▪ if possible ( also if at all possible )

If possible, take light exercise first thing in the morning.

▪ where/wherever/whenever possible

Choose wholemeal varieties of flour and pasta, where possible.

▪ do everything possible

We must do everything possible to limit our impact on the earth's environment.

▪ in every way possible

The company helped promote the scheme in every way possible.

■ adverbs

▪ perfectly/quite possible (=definitely possible)

Combining a family with a career is perfectly possible .

▪ theoretically possible (=possible in theory, but difficult and unlikely)

It is theoretically possible for all students to get full marks.

▪ technically possible (=possible with the technology available)

Amendments to software may be technically possible, but are inadvisable.

▪ humanly possible (=possible for anyone)

It is not humanly possible to work for more than fifteen hours a day.

• • •


▪ possible if something is possible, it can be done or achieved:

I think it’s possible that we could win the race.


I want to get back by 5 o'clock if possible.


Please let me know your answer as soon as possible.

▪ feasible if an idea or plan is feasible, it is possible and you can find a practical way of doing it:

We need to find out first if the idea is technically feasible.


It is not feasible to have security cameras in every part of the building.


Da Silva considered it feasible that uranium could be produced on an industrial scale.

▪ viable possible and likely to be successful, and therefore worth doing:

Nuclear energy is the only viable alternative to coal or gas.


The product needs to be commercially viable.


We have yet to find a viable solution to the problem.


The company was no longer financially viable (=it could not make enough money to be able to continue) .

▪ workable a workable plan, system, or solution is one that can be done or used:

By early morning, they had arrived at a workable and safe solution.


The company would have a tough job convincing people that the deal was workable.

▪ doable informal if something is doable, you have enough money, energy, or skill to do it:

This exercise programme is doable for most people.


Do you think the walk is doable?


Hosting great parties is fun, easy, and doable on any budget.


The book is full of interesting and doable recipes.

▪ achievable ( also attainable formal ) able to be achieved:

A 15% cut in carbon emissions is achievable.


Perfect democracy is not attainable, nor is perfect freedom or perfect justice.

▪ realistic if something is realistic, it seems sensible to think that it can be done or achieved:

a realistic target


Their expectations didn’t seem very realistic.


It is important to set yourself realistic goals.

II. possible 2 BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ possibility ≠ ↑ impossibility , the impossible, ↑ possible ; adverb : ↑ possibly ≠ ↑ impossibly ; adjective : ↑ possible ≠ ↑ impossible ]

someone or something that might be suitable or acceptable for a particular purpose:

Frank’s a possible for the job.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.