At first hazard was a game of chance played with dice. The English word comes from medieval French, in which the game was called hasard. This French word was probably borrowed from Arabic az-zahr, meaning “the dice” or “one of the dice.” The game was borrowed from the French by the English, and within a few centuries what had been a chance taken on the outcome of a throw of the dice could be any venture or risk. Now “chance” or “venture” and “risk” or “peril” are the usual meanings of hazard. The verb hazard emerged in the 16th century.
the tumbledown old barn was considered a fire hazard
it was only by hazard and good fortune that we found our way back to the trail Verb
His friend asked him to hazard a small sum in a business venture.
just so the tourists could see the sea lions up close, the captain needlessly hazarded his ship
Recent Examples on the Web
The report also states that chemicals such as pesticides and allergens specific to the cannabis plant itself can be a hazard.—CBS News, 17 Nov. 2023 Apex was also not allowed the storage of inoperable vehicles, flammable materials or other hazards.—Rachel Uranga, Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2023 This is partially to prevent little hands from getting hold of tiny bricks that could become choking hazards, but also because the sets are scaled to typical child development skills at those ages.—Sarah Bradley, Parents, 16 Nov. 2023 Brynjar Gunnarsson Embassy officials said volcanic hazards may include lava, toxic gases and heavy smoke from fires ignited by lava.—Denise Chow, NBC News, 13 Nov. 2023 However, probabilistic maps only capture the odds of the hazard occurring.—Michel Bruneau, Discover Magazine, 13 Nov. 2023 Hot lights can become a fire hazard when put on a dry tree.—Katie Begley, Peoplemag, 10 Nov. 2023 Moderate Santa Ana winds will whip through inland San Diego County on Thursday, kicking up dust and sand that could pose a hazard for motorists, especially on Interstate 8 east of Alpine, the National Weather Service said.—Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 Nov. 2023 Siebel says society should be aligned that AI shouldn’t misuse private information, propagate social health hazards, interfere with democratic processes, or be used for sensitive military applications without civilian oversight.—Byjohn Kell, Fortune, 8 Nov. 2023
Still, newspapers had hazarded many guesses as to his real identity.—Teresa Nowakowski, Smithsonian Magazine, 11 Oct. 2023 Goodman would not hazard a guess on the state of SAG-AFTRA’s negotiations, which began June 7.—Cynthia Littleton, Variety, 21 June 2023 Food inflation is already significant, noted Daniel Sumner, a professor of agricultural and resource economics at UC Davis, and now prices will rise more, though Sumner and other analysts said there were simply too many factors to hazard a guess on how much.—Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 May 2023 Want to hazard a guess as to Trump’s lead over DeSantis (routinely second in these surveys)?—Michael Tomasky, The New Republic, 20 Feb. 2023 Yi also hazards a few variations that are more systematic.—Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 17 Feb. 2023 Care to hazard a guess who picked which?—Joey Capparella, Car and Driver, 10 June 2022 Too soon to hazard a guess, said Vassiliadis.—Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 Mar. 2022 Don’t count on Reid to hazard a guess.—Tim Bielik, cleveland, 30 Jan. 2022 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hazard.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Noun and Verb
Middle English, from Anglo-French hasard, from Old Spanish azar, from Arabic al-zahr the die
Middle English hazard "game of chance," from early French hasard (same meaning), from Arabic az-zahr "the die (one of the dice)"
Hazard was at first a game of chance played with dice. The English word comes from an early form of French, in which the game was called hasard. This French word was probably borrowed during the time of the Crusades from Arabic az-zahr, meaning "the die (one of the dice)." The game was borrowed from the French by the English, and within a few centuries, what had been a chance taken on the outcome of a throw of the dice could be any venture or risk. Now "chance" or "venture" and "risk" or "peril" are the usual meanings of hazard.