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I'm trying to describe a way to a goal that is more likely to succeed than any other ways, but definitely still uncertain. One word is optimal, but a few is fine too if the former doesn't exist.

Something like "This is the _______ path to victory".

I immediately thought of using "most likely" but calling something "most likely" makes it sounds almost certain, which is absolutely not what I want. "Best" sounds more suitable, but doesn't imply incertitude either.

  • I would go with the phrase "most probable", actually, as it still has a nice touch of improbability to it. "That is the most probably path to victory" implies that victory is by no means guaranteed, but that path is the "best shot" (also not a bad expression for your question). – Carly Feb 20 at 0:37
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    Colloquially, you sometimes hear "least best" or the like in such contexts. Perhaps something similar would work here. – Jim Mack Feb 20 at 0:38
  • "Long shot" carries the "unlikely" meaning but doesn't really imply "best choice". – Hot Licks Feb 20 at 0:38
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    @HotLicks For the OP case, I think it would be “best worst”. “Least best” is more for “They are all good, but this is the least best.” I think the OP wants “None of them are so great, but...” – Damila Feb 20 at 2:22
  • least improbable – jxh Feb 20 at 2:41
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You can also try "best shot."

"This is the [best shot] to victory" [remove "path"]

//Implies the "shot" or an attempt hasn't been made yet. It appears to be the best or optimal way to win; however, the attempt hasn't been made, and the outcome could still be a complete miss of the target (target = victory). Taking a shot at something implies a great sense of the unlikely could or should be the expected outcome; but, it's still a shot at victory, and this is the best one we have to win.// Other posters had excellent suggestions as well.

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I suggest likeliest. By saying it is likely you are saying that it is uncertain, but by saying it is likeliest you are saying it is the best option.

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If the so-called best solution is still unlikely, you can always negate the opposite meaning:

This is the least unlikely path to victory.

By doing this, you are saying it's the most likely of those available, but at the same time time putting emphasis on the fact that it, itself, is still an unlikely path.

In other words, all likelier paths lead to failure.

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