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 Allergic reactions can also be a hazard; Vandebroek suggests that foragers eat only a small amount of any new plant to better tell how their body might react to it. Time, "Why Modern-Day Foragers Want You to Eat Weeds for Dinner," 7 Nov. 2019 The wind is the hazard; all that other stuff makes it into a disaster. Wired, "Shifting Winds and the Changing Shape of California Fires," 29 Oct. 2019 For someone with dementia, swallowing might be difficult and hard candies might be a choking hazard. Savannah Eadens, The Courier-Journal, "Halloween can trigger folks with dementia. Here's how to keep them safe this season," 23 Oct. 2019 Entanglement is another hazard, although that’s more of a concern around shipwrecks and cables. Susan Casey, Outside Online, "One Man's Wild Quest to Reach the Bottom of Every Ocean," 22 Oct. 2019 Further Reading Researchers find bug in Python script may have affected hundreds of studies Finding out down the line that a paper has been retracted is an occupational hazard of science news. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Dodgy sex-psychology paper finally gets retracted," 16 Oct. 2019 Imitation spider webs are the major hazard, but lights and other items that hang also can pose problems, wildlife officials say. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Some tips to make Halloween decor less scary for wildlife," 15 Oct. 2019 According to the report, there were red flags posted along the beach, meaning the water was a high hazard with high surf and a strong current. Ricky Pinela, orlandosentinel.com, "Florida teen saves two kids from strong rip current: report," 23 Sep. 2019 Some of the complaints about EVs are their silence, which can be a safety hazard for pedestrians who just don’t hear the car coming. Evelyn Kanter, Houston Chronicle, "Electric car market grows," 13 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To hazard an imperfect analogy, the National Football League creates a draft, worst teams pick first, to foster competitiveness. Roger Lowenstein, Washington Post, "A reexamination of ownership in the age of the public corporation," 30 Aug. 2019 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

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
How to pronounce hazard (audio)

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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Comments on hazard

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