haz·​ard | \ ˈha-zərd How to pronounce hazard (audio) \
plural hazards

Definition of hazard

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a source of danger hazards on the roadway
2a : the effect of unpredictable and unanalyzable forces in determining events : chance, risk the hazards involved in owning your own business Men and women danced together, women danced together, men danced together, as hazard had brought them together.— Charles Dickens
b : a chance event : accident … looked like a fugitive, who had escaped from something in clothes caught up at hazard.— Willa Cather
3 hazards plural : special lights on a vehicle that flash on and off and are used to warn other drivers (as when the vehicle is not working properly) : hazard lights If you do break down or crash, immediately turn on your hazards.Shape Drivers should also turn off their hazards when signaling to exit the highway.— John Cichowski
4 : a golf-course obstacle (such as a bunker or a pond)
5 : a game of chance like craps played with two dice
6 obsolete : stake sense 3a
at hazard
: at stake


hazarded; hazarding; hazards

Definition of hazard (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to offer or present at a risk : venture hazard a guess as to the outcome

Did you know?

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.

Examples of hazard in a Sentence

Noun 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: Noun Twenty-nine employees received a total of nearly $400,000 in hazard pay, according to the documents. Tess Vrbin, Arkansas Online, 7 May 2022 Texas predominantly tapped its funds to provide excess medical capacity at hospitals, purchase tests and protective equipment and offer hazard pay to front-line workers, according to state data furnished to the federal government. Tony Romm, Anchorage Daily News, 6 May 2022 But the tentative deals with bargaining units technically don’t address hazard pay or special compensation for the pandemic. Keith M. Phanuef, courant.com, 6 Apr. 2022 The climate controls and hazard lights also live here. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, 20 Apr. 2022 The vehicle's owner, Javier Rodriguez, told ABC7 Los Angeles the vehicle's buttons and switches, including turn signals and hazard lights, were not working and the accelerator was not responding. Maria Jimenez Moya, USA TODAY, 14 Apr. 2022 One Twitter video posted by an apparent victim showed dozens of vehicles stopped along the interstate, many with their hazard lights flashing as their operators stepped out to inspect the damage. Abigail Adams, PEOPLE.com, 12 Mar. 2022 Police said the 18-wheeler was parked on the side of the road with its hazard lights on when the male crashed into the back of it. Taylor Pettaway, San Antonio Express-News, 7 Mar. 2022 On Thursday morning, in front of the restaurant on Howard Street, customers waited on the sidewalk and in cars parked out front with hazard lights blinking. Louisa Chu, chicagotribune.com, 14 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb There is not a Jew in the world who wouldn’t assess the lineup, consider his classmates, and hazard a guess—who went Nazi? Mattie Kahn, The Atlantic, 5 May 2022 Data about ancient quakes and tsunamis like the one that reshaped society here 3,800 years ago could offer a longer-term perspective to hazard planners. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, 7 Apr. 2022 The researchers didn't hazard a guess as to how many more years life on Earth could exist. NBC News, 19 Jan. 2022 Any more books at this point would just add to the fire hazard your house has become thanks to a lifetime of book hoarding. Barbara Vandenburgh, USA TODAY, 24 Dec. 2021 Reynaldo López did not hazard a third pickoff throw. Matt Kawahara, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 Sep. 2021 In a recent Institute of International Finance, chief economist Robin Brooks and his team hazard a few guesses. William Pesek, Forbes, 31 May 2021 The thing is, despite Amy’s rather cursory research process — her journalism-ism — the film does at times threaten to hazard a semi-profound observation about our changing relationship to information. Jessica Kiang, Rolling Stone, 13 May 2021 None of the experts the Washington Examiner consulted about technical aspects of the legislation would hazard a guess. Jeremy Lott, Washington Examiner, 1 Apr. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hazard.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of hazard


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 5


circa 1601, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hazard

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French hasard, from Old Spanish azar, from Arabic al-zahr the die

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Time Traveler for hazard

Time Traveler

The first known use of hazard was in the 14th century

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Statistics for hazard

Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Hazard.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hazard. Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for hazard


haz·​ard | \ ˈha-zərd How to pronounce hazard (audio) \

Kids Definition of hazard

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a source of danger a fire hazard


hazarded; hazarding

Kids Definition of hazard (Entry 2 of 2)

: to offer something (such as a guess or an opinion) at the risk of being wrong


haz·​ard | \ ˈha-zərd How to pronounce hazard (audio) \

Legal Definition of hazard

: a condition that tends to create or increase the possibility of loss used especially in insurance law

More from Merriam-Webster on hazard

Nglish: Translation of hazard for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hazard for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hazard


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