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[risk] /rɪsk/
exposure to the chance of injury or loss; a hazard or dangerous chance:
It's not worth the risk.
  1. the hazard or chance of loss.
  2. the degree of probability of such loss.
  3. the amount that the insurance company may lose.
  4. a person or thing with reference to the hazard involved in insuring him, her, or it.
  5. the type of loss, as life, fire, marine disaster, or earthquake, against which an insurance policy is drawn.
verb (used with object)
to expose to the chance of injury or loss; hazard:
to risk one's life.
to venture upon; take or run the chance of:
to risk a fall in climbing; to risk a war.
at risk,
  1. in a dangerous situation or status; in jeopardy:
    families at risk in the area of the weakened dam.
  2. under financial or legal obligation; held responsible:
    Are individual investors at risk for the debt part of the real estate venture?
take / run a risk, to expose oneself to the chance of injury or loss; put oneself in danger; hazard; venture.
Origin of risk
1655-65; < French risque < Italian risc(hi)o, of obscure origin
Related forms
risker, noun
riskless, adjective
unrisked, adjective
1. venture, peril, jeopardy. 3. imperil, endanger, jeopardize. 4. chance. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for risk
  • Through federal protection, at-risk populations are given the chance to rebound.
  • By doing so he deliberately plunges back into the contingency, risk, and moral uncertainty that he had temporarily escaped.
  • He tells much, and what he does not tell he leaves you to infer, without risk of going astray.
  • The government and legislature would be wanting in their duty to the people if they ran any risk.
  • The fact that such wounds are attended with peculiar risk has been long noticed.
  • He proceeded to do so at considerable personal risk.
  • But hundreds of other hungry guests dared not move closer and risk losing their place in line for the food at the event.
  • Such pests are putting this variety of banana at risk-with some scientists saying it is careening toward extinction.
  • He did not want to risk another critical failure, especially with such an unorthodox piece.
  • We were lucky to have a few businesses who took a risk.
British Dictionary definitions for risk


the possibility of incurring misfortune or loss; hazard
  1. chance of a loss or other event on which a claim may be filed
  2. the type of such an event, such as fire or theft
  3. the amount of the claim should such an event occur
  4. a person or thing considered with respect to the characteristics that may cause an insured event to occur
at risk
  1. vulnerable; likely to be lost or damaged
  2. (social welfare) vulnerable to personal damage, to the extent that a welfare agency might take protective responsibility
(Austral, informal) no risk, an expression of assent
take a risk, run a risk, to proceed in an action without regard to the possibility of danger involved in it
verb (transitive)
to expose to danger or loss; hazard
to act in spite of the possibility of (injury or loss): to risk a fall in climbing
Derived Forms
risker, noun
Word Origin
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)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for risk

1660s, risque, from French risque (16c.), from Italian risco, riscio (modern rischio), from riscare "run into danger," of uncertain origin. The anglicized spelling first recorded 1728. Spanish riesgo and German Risiko are Italian loan-words. With run (v.) from 1660s. Risk aversion is recorded from 1942; risk factor from 1906; risk management from 1963; risk taker from 1892.


1680s, from risk (n.), or from French risquer, from Italian riscare, rischaire, from the noun. Related: Risked; risks; risking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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risk in Medicine

risk (rĭsk)

  1. The possibility of suffering a harmful event.

  2. A factor or course involving uncertain danger, as with smoking or exposure to radiation.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Idioms and Phrases with risk


In addition to the idiom beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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