risk

noun
\ ˈrisk \

Definition of risk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : possibility of loss or injury : peril
2 : someone or something that creates or suggests a hazard
3a : the chance of loss or the perils to the subject matter of an insurance contract also : the degree of probability of such loss
b : a person or thing that is a specified hazard to an insurer
c : an insurance hazard from a specified cause or source war risk
4 : the chance that an investment (such as a stock or commodity) will lose value
at risk
: in a state or condition marked by a high level of risk or susceptibility patients at risk of infection

risk

verb
risked; risking; risks

Definition of risk (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to expose to hazard or danger risked her life
2 : to incur the risk or danger of risked breaking his neck

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from risk

Noun

riskless \ ˈrisk-​ləs \ adjective

Verb

risker noun

Examples of risk in a Sentence

Noun

I prefer not to expose my money to too much risk. The degree of risk is minimal. All investments have an element of risk. The trip didn't seem like much of a risk. I'm aware of the risks associated with this treatment. There is a risk of liver damage with this medication. Wearing a seatbelt greatly reduces the risk of injury or death in a car accident. We feel that this product presents a significant risk to public health. To me, skydiving is not worth the risk. Smoking is a risk to your lungs.

Verb

She risked her life to save her children. He risked all his money on starting his own business. He risked breaking his neck. She's risking being considered too sentimental. The country risked a war. brave people who risked being killed to help others I'm not willing to risk getting lost. I'm going to buy a map. The company is risking the loss of millions of dollars. It's not wise to risk traveling so soon after surgery.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Rwanda is atypical: Here, women are usually the ones providing for the family, bringing home 88 percent of the household’s income, and should be less at risk of violence. Caterina Clerici & Eléonore Hamelin, Marie Claire, "Rwanda's Future Is Female," 1 Feb. 2019 And those who don’t have checking or savings accounts—close to 7 percent of Americans (mostly non-white)—would be at risk of being shut out of the system completely. Town & Country, "Is This the End of Cash?," 28 Jan. 2019 Boutique investment banks with lower reputational risks are also participating. Carol Ryan, WSJ, "Weed Versus Greed on Wall Street," 25 Jan. 2019 Mccan suggests placing water alarms, which detect leaks and moisture, in areas of your home that are at risk of water damage. Maya Mcdowell, House Beautiful, "How To Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing In This Ridiculously Cold Weather," 24 Jan. 2019 Drinking in excess is linked to all sorts of health risks like breast cancer, death from all causes, and even heart disease. Jessica Migala, Good Housekeeping, "5 Major Dry January Health Benefits, According to Experts," 26 Dec. 2018 In the wake of the crash, reports emerged that Uber’s self-driving program was potentially fraught with risk. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Uber’s self-driving cars return to public roads for the first time since fatal crash," 20 Dec. 2018 And the model’s predictions of risk are stable because they’re based on biological traits that aren’t likely to change anytime soon. Mallory Locklear, Discover Magazine, "With Big Data and Predictive Analytics, Scientists Are Getting Smarter About Outbreaks," 8 Nov. 2018 Even a strike against tiny North Korea runs the risk of a nuclear counterstrike by China, and the loss of just one American city would be a catastrophe. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Does America Still Need the Nuclear Triad?," 23 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Speaking up can also risk financial troubles, since many congregations of nuns are financially subservient to priests and bishops. Tim Sullivan, The Seattle Times, "AP finds long history of nuns abused by priests in India," 1 Jan. 2019 And that's understandable, because who would want to risk getting foundation caked around the gems' settings? Marci Robin, Allure, "We Talked to Artis About Those $25,000 Diamond-Encrusted Makeup Brushes It Just Launched," 12 Nov. 2018 Noisy rows would risk undermining the sense of political unity on which deterrence depends. The Economist, "Will Donald Trump be Triumphant, Tetchy or Torpedo?," 5 July 2018 However, players that miss the green to the right will risk losing multiple shots to par. star-telegram, "How to play the Trinity Forest golf course: Be creative and embrace the character | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 16 May 2018 Brands that don’t play ball risk their reputations. Carol Ryan, WSJ, "Plastic Is Big Food’s Next Headache," 28 Dec. 2018 Joe couldn’t win Beck back after a late-in-season breakup or the show would risk contradicting itself. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "You, now streaming on Netflix, tilts the rom-com into postmodern horror," 27 Dec. 2018 It’s also used by Apple to collect data from iPhones without risking customer privacy. Tom Simonite, WIRED, "How a Startup Is Using the Blockchain to Protect Your Privacy," 11 July 2018 Any delays in this process risks creating security gaps, wherein a flaw is fixed in Chrome/Chromium but still exposed in Edge. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Edge dies a death of a thousand cuts as Microsoft switches to Chromium," 6 Dec. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of risk

Noun

1655, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1660, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for risk

Noun

French risque, from Italian risco

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about risk

Statistics for risk

Last Updated

12 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for risk

The first known use of risk was in 1655

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for risk

risk

noun

English Language Learners Definition of risk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the possibility that something bad or unpleasant (such as an injury or a loss) will happen
: someone or something that may cause something bad or unpleasant to happen
: a person or thing that someone judges to be a good or bad choice for insurance, a loan, etc.

risk

verb

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

: to put (something) in a situation in which it could be lost, damaged, etc.
: to do something that could result in (something bad or unpleasant)
: to do (something that may have harmful or bad results)

risk

noun
\ ˈrisk \

Kids Definition of risk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : possibility of loss or injury This adventure involves risks.
2 : something or someone that may cause loss or injury Smoking is a health risk.

risk

verb
risked; risking

Kids Definition of risk (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to expose to danger He risked his life to save the children.
2 : to take the risk or danger of I'm not willing to risk hurting myself.

risk

noun
\ ˈrisk \

Medical Definition of risk

1 : possibility of loss, injury, disease, or death hypertension increases the risk of stroke
2 : a person considered in terms of the possible bad effects of a particular course of treatment a poor surgical risk
at risk
: in a state or condition marked by a high level of risk or susceptibility patients at risk of developing infections

Keep scrolling for more

risk

noun

Legal Definition of risk

1a : possibility of loss or injury
b : liability for loss or injury if it occurs the risk of loss passes to the buyer when the goods are duly delivered to the carrierUniform Commercial Code the risk of personal injury and property damage should be placed with the manufacturer rather than the consumerCase & Comment
2a : the chance of loss to the subject matter of an insurance contract : uncertainty with regard to loss also : the degree of probability of such loss — compare peril
b : a person or thing that is a specified hazard to an insurer a poor risk for insurance
c : an insurance hazard from a specified cause or source a war risk

Other Words from risk

riskless adjective

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on risk

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with risk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for risk

Spanish Central: Translation of risk

Nglish: Translation of risk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of risk for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about risk

Comments on risk

What made you want to look up risk? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

marked by fawning attentiveness

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!