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1. The possibility of suffering harm or loss; danger.
2. A factor, thing, element, or course involving uncertain danger; a hazard: "the usual risks of the desert: rattlesnakes, the heat, and lack of water" (Frank Clancy).
a. The danger or probability of loss to an insurer.
b. The amount that an insurance company stands to lose.
a. The variability of returns from an investment.
b. The chance of nonpayment of a debt.
5. One considered with respect to the possibility of loss: a poor risk.
tr.v. risked, risk·ing, risks
1. To expose to a chance of loss or damage; hazard. See Synonyms at endanger.
2. To incur the risk of: His action risked a sharp reprisal.
at risk
In an endangered state, especially from lack of proper care: unsupervised children who are at risk of dropping out of school.

[French risque, from Italian risco, rischio, probably from Medieval Greek rizikon, sustenance obtained by a soldier through his own initiative, fortune, from Arabic rizq, sustenance, that which God allots, from Syriac ruziqā, daily bread, from Middle Iranian rōčig, from rōč, day, from Old Iranian *raučah-; see leuk- in Indo-European roots.]

risk′er n.


1. the possibility of incurring misfortune or loss; hazard
2. (Insurance) insurance
a. chance of a loss or other event on which a claim may be filed
b. the type of such an event, such as fire or theft
c. the amount of the claim should such an event occur
d. a person or thing considered with respect to the characteristics that may cause an insured event to occur
3. vulnerable; likely to be lost or damaged
4. (Social Welfare) social welfare vulnerable to personal damage, to the extent that a welfare agency might take protective responsibility
5. no risk informal Austral an expression of assent
6. take a risk run a risk to proceed in an action without regard to the possibility of danger involved in it
vb (tr)
7. to expose to danger or loss; hazard
8. to act in spite of the possibility of (injury or loss): to risk a fall in climbing.
[C17: from French risque, from Italian risco, from rischiare to be in peril, from Greek rhiza cliff (from the hazards of sailing along rocky coasts)]
ˈrisker n



1. exposure to the chance of injury or loss.
2. Insurance.
a. the hazard or chance of loss.
b. the degree of probability of such loss.
c. the amount that the insurance company may lose.
d. a person or thing with reference to the hazard involved to the insurer.
e. the type of loss against which a policy is drawn.
3. to expose to the chance of injury or loss; hazard: to risk one's life.
4. to venture upon; take the chance of: to risk a fall.
at risk, in imminent danger of injury, damage, or loss: homes at risk of flooding.
[1655–65; < French risque < Italian risc(hi)o]


1. Probability and severity of loss linked to hazards. 2. See degree of risk. See also hazard; risk management.



See Also: DANGER

  1. About as risky as selling the farm to buy up blocks of Xerox in the early ‘60s —John Stravinsky about horse syndicate investments, Wall Street Journal, August 15, 1986
  2. The art of gambling is like the art of painting. You’ve got to know when to stop —Maurice Edelman
  3. Betting on Martin was like betting on an aging horse that lived on sourmash whiskey —Will Weaver
  4. (Politics with a mass of people is as) chancy and fickle as a whore’s heart —Robert Traver
  5. Chancy as trying to catch a fish in the open hand —Elizabeth Hardwick
  6. It [the need to risk] was like statistics or gambling; you had to compute probabilities. And there was always the unforseen, the little thing you overlooked that would catch you up in the end —Mary McCarthy
  7. Precarious as wheat farming —Larry McMurtry

    The profession McMurtry is likening to wheat farming is film making. He builds on the simile as follows: “He might raise a great crop of films … then watch them all wither in the theater.”

  8. Risky … It’s like playing with a chemistry set without reading the directions —Vincent Canby, New York Times, January 22, 1986

    The risky activity described is movie making by the inexperienced.

  9. To remove the element of risk is like playing cards with a stacked deck —Stephen Gillers, New York Times/Op Ed, November 23, 1986

    Gillers, a law professor, used this simile to discuss the expose of people in the financial world who had been taking the risk out of arbitrage by dealing on specially garnered or insider information.



(See also DANGER.)

dance on the razor’s edge To tempt fate, to invite trouble, to skate on thin ice. The allusion is to the very sharp and very thin edge of a straight razor. This expression is apparently an extension of the earlier phrase on the razor’s edge ‘in a very precarious or dangerous position,’ which dates from the early 17th century. George Chapman used the expression in his famous translation of Homer’s Iliad (1611):

Now on the eager razor’s edge, for life or death we stand.

lay it on the line To risk something valuable such as one’s career, reputation, or life; to speak or answer candidly, clearly, and categorically; to say precisely what one means; to give or pay money. In this expression, line is a figurative indication of demarcation between two extremes such as success and failure, clarity and obscurity, or debit and credit. Although originally limited to financial matters such as payment of debts, in contemporary usage lay it on the line usually refers to speaking frankly or risking something of importance.

I’ll lay it on the line for you, if you like. Are you thinking or asking my girl to marry you? (E. E. Sumner, Chance Encounter, 1967)

It was clear to the President [Nixon] that his credibility was on the line with the leaders of Hanoi. (Guardian, May 9, 1970)

Variations include put it on the line and on the line.

leap in the dark See DEATH.

play with fire To trifle with or become involved in a serious or potentially dangerous matter. This expression uses fire figuratively to represent any situation or entity which can be beneficial or useful, but which always holds the potential for harm or disaster.

I should like to sound a note of warning … one who plays with fire … can only expect to get burnt. (Daily Chronicle, October 9, 1907)

In contemporary usage, play with fire is often applied to romantic entanglements or sexual encounters which, by their very nature, carry the risk of moral or emotional distress.

She led me on, she played with fire, but she wouldn’t have me. (L. P. Hartley, The Hireling, 1957)

put one’s head in the lion’s (wolf’s) mouth To court danger; to ask for trouble. In the Aesop fable which gave rise to the phrase, the mouth belonged to a wily wolf; a gullible crane inserted its head to extract a bone. At some point in the phrase’s development, the wolf evolved into a lion—perhaps through confusion with beard the lion in his den, or perhaps because the size and ferocity of a lion seem more appropriate when the phrase is applied to human foolhardiness.

ride for a fall To invite injury or misfortune by reckless conduct; to court danger, ask for trouble; to behave so imperiously as to be headed for a comeuppance. One source conjectures a derivation from horse racing, saying a jockey “rides for a fall” when he deliberately loses a race, often by riding in such a way as to be thrown. Whether or not its origin is this specific, the literal phrase seems clearly to have its roots in horsemanship. The expression is now used almost exclusively in its figurative sense; conceptually it is akin to the well-known saying from Proverbs:

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (16:18)

Russian roulette A risky activity or predicament, especially one which endangers a person’s life. In the game of Russian roulette, a revolver is loaded with one bullet, the cartridge cylinder is spun, the gun is pointed at one’s own head, and the trigger is pulled. If the revolver can hold six bullets, the odds are one in six that when the trigger is pulled, the person will kill himself. This “game” took its name from roulette, another game of chance in which a small metal ball is spun onto a revolving wheel, coming to rest in one of thirty-seven or thirty-eight numbered compartments. Its “Russian” designation probably derives from its being a popular pastime among the nihilistic intelligentsia of 19th-century Russia. Although both roulette and Russian roulette are forms of gambling, the stakes in the latter are considerably higher. Russian roulette is applied figuratively in situations where one takes his life into his own hands; for example, “It’s Russian roulette out there on the freeways at rush hour.”

take the bear by the tooth Recklessly to risk danger; to provoke to attack. The phrase’s meaning is self-evident, its origin unknown.


Risk can be a noun or a verb.

1. used as a noun

If there is a risk of something unpleasant, there is a possibility that it will happen.

There is very little risk of infection.
The law allows police to stop people if they believe there is a serious risk of violence.
2. used as a verb

If someone risks doing something, it may happen as a result of something else they do.

He risked breaking his leg when he jumped.

You can also say that someone risks doing something when they do it even though they know it might have unpleasant consequences.

If you have an expensive rug, don't risk washing it yourself.

Be Careful!
Don't say that someone 'risks to do' something.


Past participle: risked
Gerund: risking

I risk
you risk
he/she/it risks
we risk
you risk
they risk
I risked
you risked
he/she/it risked
we risked
you risked
they risked
Present Continuous
I am risking
you are risking
he/she/it is risking
we are risking
you are risking
they are risking
Present Perfect
I have risked
you have risked
he/she/it has risked
we have risked
you have risked
they have risked
Past Continuous
I was risking
you were risking
he/she/it was risking
we were risking
you were risking
they were risking
Past Perfect
I had risked
you had risked
he/she/it had risked
we had risked
you had risked
they had risked
I will risk
you will risk
he/she/it will risk
we will risk
you will risk
they will risk
Future Perfect
I will have risked
you will have risked
he/she/it will have risked
we will have risked
you will have risked
they will have risked
Future Continuous
I will be risking
you will be risking
he/she/it will be risking
we will be risking
you will be risking
they will be risking
Present Perfect Continuous
I have been risking
you have been risking
he/she/it has been risking
we have been risking
you have been risking
they have been risking
Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been risking
you will have been risking
he/she/it will have been risking
we will have been risking
you will have been risking
they will have been risking
Past Perfect Continuous
I had been risking
you had been risking
he/she/it had been risking
we had been risking
you had been risking
they had been risking
I would risk
you would risk
he/she/it would risk
we would risk
you would risk
they would risk
Past Conditional
I would have risked
you would have risked
he/she/it would have risked
we would have risked
you would have risked
they would have risked
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.risk - a source of dangerrisk - a source of danger; a possibility of incurring loss or misfortune; "drinking alcohol is a health hazard"
danger - a cause of pain or injury or loss; "he feared the dangers of traveling by air"
health hazard - hazard to the health of those exposed to it
moral hazard - (economics) the lack of any incentive to guard against a risk when you are protected against it (as by insurance); "insurance companies are exposed to a moral hazard if the insured party is not honest"
occupational hazard - any condition of a job that can result in illness or injury
sword of Damocles - a constant and imminent peril; "the possibility hangs over their heads like the sword of Damocles"
2.risk - a venture undertaken without regard to possible loss or injury; "he saw the rewards but not the risks of crime"; "there was a danger he would do the wrong thing"
venture - any venturesome undertaking especially one with an uncertain outcome
chance - a risk involving danger; "you take a chance when you let her drive"
crapshoot - a risky and uncertain venture; "getting admitted to the college of your choice has become a crapshoot"
gamble - a risky act or venture
3.risk - the probability of becoming infected given that exposure to an infectious agent has occurred
probability, chance - a measure of how likely it is that some event will occur; a number expressing the ratio of favorable cases to the whole number of cases possible; "the probability that an unbiased coin will fall with the head up is 0.5"
4.risk - the probability of being exposed to an infectious agent
probability, chance - a measure of how likely it is that some event will occur; a number expressing the ratio of favorable cases to the whole number of cases possible; "the probability that an unbiased coin will fall with the head up is 0.5"
Verb1.risk - expose to a chance of loss or damage; "We risked losing a lot of money in this venture"; "Why risk your life?"; "She laid her job on the line when she told the boss that he was wrong"
attempt, essay, try, assay, seek - make an effort or attempt; "He tried to shake off his fears"; "The infant had essayed a few wobbly steps"; "The police attempted to stop the thief"; "He sought to improve himself"; "She always seeks to do good in the world"
stake, adventure, hazard, jeopardize, venture - put at risk; "I will stake my good reputation for this"
bell the cat - take a risk; perform a daring act; "Who is going to bell the cat?"
2.risk - take a risk in the hope of a favorable outcomerisk - take a risk in the hope of a favorable outcome; "When you buy these stocks you are gambling"
attempt, essay, try, assay, seek - make an effort or attempt; "He tried to shake off his fears"; "The infant had essayed a few wobbly steps"; "The police attempted to stop the thief"; "He sought to improve himself"; "She always seeks to do good in the world"
go for broke - risk everything in one big effort; "the cyclist went for broke at the end of the race"
luck it, luck through - act by relying on one's luck


1. danger, chance, threat, possibility, prospect, speculation, uncertainty, hazard, likelihood, probability There is a small risk of brain damage.
2. gamble, chance, venture, speculation, leap in the dark This was one risk that paid off.
3. peril, threat, danger, hazard, menace, jeopardy He would not put their lives at risk.
1. stand a chance of, chance, venture, take the risk of Those who fail to register risk severe penalties.


1. A possibility of danger or harm:
2. Exposure to possible harm, loss, or injury:
3. A venture depending on chance:
1. To expose to possible loss or damage:
2. To subject to danger or destruction:
3. To put up as a stake in a game or speculation:
Informal: go.
4. To run the risk of:
مُجازَفَه، مُخاطَرَهمُخَاطَرَةيُجَازِفُيُجازِفيُخاطِر
áhættahætta ástofna í hættu
위험위험을 무릅쓰다
esant pavojuirizikuodamas
risicoriskerenrisico nemen
liềurủi ro


A. N
1. (gen) → riesgo m
it's not worth the riskno merece la pena correr el riesgo
there is an element of riskhay un componente de riesgo
there's too much risk involvedsupone demasiados riesgos
the benefits outweigh the riskslos beneficios son mayores que los riesgos
the building is a fire riskel edificio es un peligro en caso de un incendio
a health/security riskun peligro para la salud/la seguridad
at risk the children most at risklos niños que corren más riesgo or peligro
up to 25,000 jobs are at riskhay hasta 25.000 trabajos que peligran or que están en peligro
to put sth at riskponer algo en peligro
at the risk ofa riesgo de
at the risk of seeming stupida riesgo de parecer estúpido
at the risk of one's lifecon peligro de su vida, arriesgando la vida
there is no risk of his coming or that he will comeno hay peligro de que venga
there is little risk of infectionel riesgo or peligro de infección es pequeño
at one's own riskpor su cuenta y riesgo
at (the) owner's riskbajo la responsabilidad del dueño
you run the risk of being dismissedcorres el riesgo de que te despidan
I can't take the riskno me puedo exponer or arriesgar a eso, no puedo correr ese riesgo
that's a risk you'll have to takeése es un riesgo que vas a tener que correr
you're taking a big riskte estás arriesgando mucho
see also calculated
2. (Fin, Insurance) → riesgo m
insured against all risksasegurado contra or a todo riesgo
a bad/good risk you may be turned down as a bad riskpuede que te rechacen por constituir un riesgo inadmisible
she is considered a good riska sus ojos constituye un riesgo admisible
see also all-risks, high-risk, low-risk
1. (= put at risk) → arriesgar, poner en peligro
she risked her life for me/to save mearriesgó su vida por mí/por rescatarme, puso en peligro su vida por mí/por rescatarme
to risk everythingarriesgarlo todo
I'm risking my job by saying thisestoy arriesgando or poniendo en peligro el puesto al decir esto
he risked all his savings on the projectarriesgó todos sus ahorros en el proyecto
see also life, neck
2. (= run the risk of) → correr el riesgo de, arriesgarse a
I don't want to risk another accidentno quiero correr el riesgo de or arriesgarme a or exponerme a otro accidente
to risk losing/being caughtcorrer el riesgo de perder/ser cogido, arriesgarse a perder/ser cogido
3. (= venture, take a chance on) → arriesgarse a
shall we risk it?¿nos arriesgamos?
I'll risk itme arriesgo, me voy a arriesgar
I can't risk itno me puedo arriesgar (a eso)
I risked a glance behind meme arriesgué a mirar hacia atrás
she won't risk coming todayno va a arriesgarse a venir hoy
C. CPD risk capital Ncapital m riesgo
risk factor Nfactor m de riesgo
smoking is a risk factor for or in heart diseasefumar constituye un factor de riesgo en las enfermedades cardíacas
risk management Ngestión f de riesgos


(= possible danger) → risque m, danger m
Policemen face many risks these days → Actuellement, les policiers courent bien des risques.
health risk
It's a health risk → Cela présente un risque pour la santé.
fire risk
It's a fire risk → Cela présente un risque d'incendie.
risk of sth
There's a risk of side effects → Il y a un risque d'effets secondaires.
There is no risk of malaria → Il n'y a pas de risque d'attraper la malaria.
There's no risk of them being sued → Ils ne risquent pas de se faire poursuivre en justice.
to be a risk to [+ health, security, safety, public] → présenter un risque pour
at risk → en danger
at risk of sth → exposé(e) au risque de qch
to be at risk of doing sth → risquer de faire qch
at one's own risk → à ses risques et périls
It's at your own risk → C'est à vos risques et périls.
(deliberate)risque m
to take a risk → prendre un risque
to take the risk of doing sth → courir le risque de faire qch
to run the risk of death → risquer de se faire tuer
to run the risk of doing sth → courir le risque de faire qch
at the risk of doing
At the risk of sounding boastful → Au risque de passer pour un fanfaron ...
(INSURANCE)risque m
(= venture) → risquer
to risk it
I'll risk it → Je vais risquer le coup.
I wouldn't risk it if I were you → À votre place, je ne prendrais pas ce risque.
to risk doing sth → risquer de faire qch
You risk getting a fine → Vous risquez de recevoir une amende.
(= endanger) [+ health, life, money, job] → risquerrisk assessment névaluation f des risquesrisk capital ncapital-risques mrisk management ngestion f des risquesrisk-taking [ˈrɪskteɪkɪŋ] nprise f de risques


Risiko nt; (in cpds) → -gefahr f; health/war riskGesundheits-/Kriegsgefahr f; risk of infectionInfektionsrisiko nt, → Ansteckungsgefahr f; to take or run risks/a riskRisiken/ein Risiko eingehen; to take or run the risk of doing somethingdas Risiko eingehen, etw zu tun; you(’ll) run the risk of losing a lot of moneySie laufen dabei Gefahr, eine Menge Geld zu verlieren; there is no risk of his coming or that he will comees besteht keine Gefahr, dass er kommt; at one’s own riskauf eigene Gefahr, auf eigenes Risiko; goods sent at sender’s riskWarenversand mauf Risiko des Senders; “cars parked at owners’ riskParken auf eigene Gefahr; at the risk of seeming stupidauf die Gefahr hin, dumm zu scheinen; at the risk of his lifeunter Einsatz seines Lebens; children at riskgefährdete Kinder; some jobs are at riskeinige Stellen sind gefährdet; to put somebody at riskjdn gefährden; to put something at risketw riskieren
(Insur) → Risiko nt; fire riskFeuerrisiko; he’s a bad accident riskbei ihm besteht ein hohes Unfallrisiko; to be a good/bad (credit) risk (Fin) → eine gute/schlechte Bonität haben ? security risk
career, future, reputation, savings, liferiskieren, aufs Spiel setzen ? neck
defeat, quarrel, accidentriskieren; (= venture) criticism, remarkwagen, riskieren; to risk somebody’s wrathriskieren, dass jd sehr erzürnt ist; you’ll risk falling/losing your jobSie riskieren dabei, hinzufallen/Ihre Stelle zu verlieren; she won’t risk coming todaysie wird es heute nicht riskieren, zu kommen; I’ll risk itdas riskiere ich, ich lasse es darauf ankommen


risk capital
nRisikokapital nt
risk factor
nRisikofaktor m
risk group
nRisikogruppe f


risk management
nRisikomanagement; → Absicherung fvon Risiken
risk sharing
nRisikoteilung f


1. nrischio
fire/health/security risk → rischio d'incendio/per la salute/per la sicurezza
to be a fire risk → essere una potenziale causa d'incendio
there's not much risk of rain → non c'è pericolo che piova
to take a risk → rischiare, correre un rischio
to run the risk of sth → correre il rischio di qc
it's not worth the risk → non vale la pena di correre il rischio
at risk → in pericolo
to put sth at risk → mettere a repentaglio qc
he put his job at risk → ha rischiato di giocarsi il posto
at one's own risk → a proprio rischio e pericolo
at the risk of seeming stupid → a costo di sembrare stupido
2. vt (life, health, money) → rischiare, arrischiare; (criticism, anger, defeat) → rischiare
I'll risk it → ci proverò lo stesso
to risk losing/being caught → rischiare di perdere/di esser preso/a
to risk one's neck → rischiare la pelle


(risk) noun
(a person, thing etc which causes or could cause) danger or possible loss or injury. He thinks we shouldn't go ahead with the plan because of the risks involved / because of the risk of failure.
1. to expose to danger; to lay open to the possibility of loss. He would risk his life for his friend; He risked all his money on betting on that horse.
2. to take the chance of (something bad happening). He was willing to risk death to save his friend; I'd better leave early as I don't want to risk being late for the play.
ˈrisky adverb
possibly causing or bringing loss, injury etc. Motor-racing is a risky business.
at (a person's) own risk
with the person agreeing to accept any loss, damage etc involved. Cars may be parked here at their owner's risk.
at risk
in danger; likely to suffer loss, injury etc. Heart disease can be avoided if people at risk take medical advice.
at the risk of
with the possibility of (loss, injury, trouble etc). He saved the little girl at the risk of his own life; At the risk of offending you, I must tell you that I disapprove of your behaviour.
run/take the risk (of)
to do something which involves a risk. I took the risk of buying that jumper for you – I hope it fits; He didn't want to run the risk of losing his money.
take risks / take a risk
to do something which might cause loss, injury etc. One cannot be successful in business unless one is willing to take risks.


مُخَاطَرَة, يُجَازِفُ riskovat, riziko risikere, risiko Risiko, riskieren διακινδυνεύω, κίνδυνος arriesgar, riesgo riskeerata, riski risque, risquer riskirati, rizik rischiare, rischio 危険, 危険にさらす 위험, 위험을 무릅쓰다 risico, riskeren risikere, risiko ryzyko, zaryzykować arriscar, risco риск, рисковать risk, riskera เสี่ยง, ความเสี่ยง risk, tehlikeye atmak liều, rủi ro 冒险, 风险


n. riesgo, peligro;
___ of contaminationriesgo o peligro de contaminación;
___ factorsfactores de ___;
high- ___ groupsgrupos de alto ___;
potential ______ posible;
___ of infection___ de infección;
___ of injury___ de una lesión;
___ of violence___ de violencia;
v. poner en peligro; arriesgarse.


n riesgo; at — de or en riesgo; at — for en riesgo de; calculated — riesgo calculado; high-risk de alto riesgo; low-risk de bajo riesgo; risks and benefits riesgos y beneficios; to run the — of correr el riesgo de; to take a — arriesgarse, tomar un riesgo; vt arriesgar
References in classic literature ?
I'm a crotchety old thing, and always shall be, but I'm willing to own that you are right, only it's easier for me to risk my life for a person than to be pleasant to him when I don't feel like it.
The conditions in the Copan valley are likely to be still more difficult to overcome, and I feel that I risk failure without your young energy and your inventive mind to aid in the work and to suggest possible means of attaining our object.
The young men who belonged to the Progressive Euchre Club used to drop in late and risk a tiff with their sweethearts and general condemnation for a waltz with `the hired girls.
shouted the scout, who did not spare his open laughter, though instantly checking the dangerous sounds he indulged his merriment at less risk of being overheard by any lurking enemies.
Soon after, I returned home to my family with a determination to bring them as soon as possible to live in Kentucke, which I esteemed a second paradise, at the risk of my life and fortune.
Lonely as was Hester's situation, and without a friend on earth who dared to show himself, she, however, incurred no risk of want.
He was, in fact, noted for preferring vicious animals, given to all kinds of tricks which kept the rider in constant risk of his neck, for he held a tractable, wellbroken horse as unworthy of a lad of spirit.
He was quiet; he might be innocent; the risk was hideous; I turned away.
And where but from Nantucket, too, did that first adventurous little sloop put forth, partly laden with imported cobble-stones --so goes the story --to throw at the whales, in order to discover when they were nigh enough to risk a harpoon from the bowsprit?
For example, --after a weary and perilous chase and capture of a whale, the body may get loose from the ship by reason of a violent storm; and drifting far away to leeward, be retaken by a second whaler, who, in a calm, snugly tows it alongside, without risk of life or line.
Well, sir, I bean't much of a horseman, but I'd risk my neck for the Lady Anne; she was uncommon good to my wife in the winter.
They knew, as an abstract proposition, that in matters of business all men are to be accounted liars; but they could not but have been influenced by all they had heard from the eloquent agent, and were quite persuaded that the house was something they had run a risk of losing by their delay.