hazard

noun
haz·​ard | \ˈha-zərd \

Definition of hazard 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a game of chance like craps played with two dice

2 : a source of danger hazards on the roadway

3a : 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

4 obsolete : stake sense 3a

5 : a golf-course obstacle (such as a bunker or a pond)

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

Some regulators, pilots and others have publicly criticized the company for failing to highlight the operating principles and potential hazards of the new anti-stall system, which wasn’t installed on older 737 models. Ben Otto, WSJ, "Lion Air Co-Founder Considers Canceling Giant Boeing Order After Indonesia Crash," 5 Dec. 2018 Anyone who’s had to make a long drive on little sleep can tell you that there are also, of course, hazards that can come along with being fatigued, but being exhausted is actually more compromising than most people realize. Yvette D'entremont, SELF, "I'm a Scientist With Insomnia So I Researched How to Actually Get Better Sleep," 28 Nov. 2018 The World Health Organization recently reported that nine out of 10 people breathe polluted air, and that 7 million people die each year due to these hazards. Umair Irfan, Vox, "How improving air quality could add years to people’s lives around the world.," 21 Nov. 2018 Some of the world’s most destructive earthquakes — China in 2008, Haiti in 2010 and Japan in 2011, among them — occurred in areas that seismic hazard maps had deemed relatively safe. Cade Metz, The Seattle Times, "The next Big One? Earthquake scientists look to AI.," 26 Oct. 2018 The highway reopened Friday morning after it was shut down Thursday due to the fire hazard. Cassie Dickman, sacbee, "Firefighters gain ground, some evacuations lifted: Northern California fires update," 9 July 2018 But being a Cake Boss comes with occupational hazards as well—the caloric kind. Shay Spence, PEOPLE.com, "Cake Boss Buddy Valastro Reveals How He Lost 35 Lbs.: 'I Feel So Much Better Now'," 2 July 2018 The dam is classified as a low-hazard dam, meaning failure would cause little or no damage to other structures, public utility services, roads or railroads. Nancy Daly, Cincinnati.com, "More precautions taken at Big Bone park due to leaking dam," 28 June 2018 For all the hazards of flying in the vicinity of the sun, perhaps the least discussed is a barrage of tiny rocks waiting to shred any vulnerable object that ventures too close. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "The Spacecraft Engineering Required to "Touch the Sun"," 6 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 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. Fox News, "Hawaii officials warn residents about latest lava flow," 19 May 2018 Benson is accused of negligent homicide, dereliction of duty and hazarding a vessel, and recently waived his right to an Article 32 hearing, a public airing of the facts that had been scheduled for May 21 at the Washington Navy Yard. Dan Lamothe, Washington Post, "Navy ‘callous’ in how it describes deadly USS Fitzgerald collision, attorneys allege," 16 May 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 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. Fox News, "Hawaii officials warn residents about latest lava flow," 19 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 1

Verb

circa 1601, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hazard

Noun

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

Verb

see hazard entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near hazard

hazanic

hazanuth

Hazara

hazard

hazarder

hazardless

hazard lights

Statistics for hazard

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hazard

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

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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 \

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 \

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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