hazard

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

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 : a golf-course obstacle (such as a bunker or a pond)
4 : a game of chance like craps played with two dice
5 obsolete : stake sense 3a
at hazard
: at stake

hazard

verb
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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Between 872 and 965, no fewer than 24 popes were coronated in Rome (between 896 and 904, there was roughly one pope appointed per year!) Occupational hazards of the papacy included being deposed, thrown in prison, or murdered. National Geographic, "In 897, the corpse of a pope was exhumed—to be put on trial.," 20 Aug. 2019 Medical experts have started warning in earnest of the hazards of stem cell tourism. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "A gruesome case study points to the hazards of stem cell tourism," 10 July 2019 Even at that point, blinds spots weren’t a new hazard. Mark Olalde, AZCentral.com, "Backup cameras would save miners' lives. So why are mines fighting against using them?," 26 June 2019 Such noninvasive testing avoids the hazards of the current technique for examining embryos readied for IVF, which involves inserting a needle into an embryo and plucking cells whose DNA is then probed for genetic abnormalities. Daniela Hernandez, WSJ, "New Noninvasive Genetic Tests for IVF Embryos Are in Development," 24 June 2019 Water damage seemed like an obvious hazard of shipping bedding at sea, but Acela wasn’t concerned. Rowan Moore Gerety, Harper's magazine, "Downstream," 10 June 2019 By heating tobacco without burning it, iQOS gives users vapor and flavor without the hazards of smoke and tar from cigarettes, cigars and pipes, the company says. Yuri Kageyama, The Seattle Times, "Philip Morris woos puff-happy Japan for post-smoking era," 23 Oct. 2018 Landing in the sand will help take away some of the hazards of such an explosive move. Angela Peterson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Father and daughter team up for a playground workout," 12 June 2018 The project, which continued for more than two decades, went beyond educating consumers about healthier diets, getting more exercise, and the hazards of smoking. Marlon Graf, STAT, "Chronic diseases are taxing our health care system and our economy," 31 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In other cases, where migrants hazard the open sea, naval and coast guard vessels intercept and deport them. Paul A. Kramer, The New Republic, "The Harsh World of Offshore Borders," 8 Aug. 2019 Nearly 60,000 people hazarded the Mediterranean crossing last year, following northward routes mapped by rumor and smugglers. Cynthia Gorney, National Geographic, "African migrants in Europe trade one hardship for another," 25 June 2019 During the trial, Winslow Sr. shepherded relatives back-and-forth on bathroom breaks, staring down media members who might hazard a question. Robert Klemko, SI.com, "You Never Knew Kellen Winslow Jr.," 13 June 2019 Government agencies, including the FBI, CIA, and NSA, declined to hazard a guess, or, indeed, to offer any comment at all. Popular Mechanics, "How Many Spies Are Currently Living in the U.S.?," 14 May 2017 In those 30 days, Hurley and Adams spoke and texted countless times, too many for either to hazard a guess. Dom Amore, courant.com, "UConn Men: Dan Hurley's Brutal Honesty, Tough Love, Resonates With Jalen Adams," 20 June 2018 The greatest ongoing hazard stems from the lava flows and the hot, toxic gases spewing from open fissure vents close to homes and critical infrastructure, said Charles Mandeville of the U.S. Geological Survey's volcano hazards program. CBS News, "Hawaii lava flow ramps up as new magma mixes with old," 20 May 2018 Researchers have hazarded several theories for what happened in Havana. Josh Chin, WSJ, "U.S. Evacuates Workers From China After Complaints of Mystery Illness," 7 June 2018 The greatest ongoing hazard stems from the lava flows and the hot, toxic gases spewing from open fissure vents close to homes and critical infrastructure, said Charles Mandeville of the U.S. Geological Survey's volcano hazards program. CBS News, "Hawaii lava flow ramps up as new magma mixes with old," 20 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of hazard

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Verb

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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More Definitions for hazard

hazard

noun

English Language Learners Definition of hazard

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a source of danger
golf : something on a golf course (such as a pond or an area of sand) that makes hitting the ball into the hole more difficult

hazard

verb

English Language Learners Definition of hazard (Entry 2 of 2)

: to risk losing (something, such as money) in an attempt to get, win, or achieve something
: to offer (something, such as a guess or an opinion) even though you may be wrong

hazard

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

Kids Definition of hazard

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a source of danger a fire hazard

hazard

verb
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

hazard

noun
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on hazard

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hazard

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hazard

Spanish Central: Translation of hazard

Nglish: Translation of hazard for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hazard for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hazard

Comments on hazard

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