risk

noun
\ ˈrisk How to pronounce risk (audio) \

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 How to pronounce riskless (audio) \ 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

The risk for Jerry Jones is an Elliott extension can gum up the team’s salary cap down the road, placing them at a competitive disadvantage. Nick Talbot, ExpressNews.com, "Writers’ Roundtable: Can Derrick White live up to his Team USA hype for the Spurs?," 10 Aug. 2019 The risk is that the cost and bureaucracy would immediately make the United Kingdom a less attractive destination. Erik Stokstad, Science | AAAS, "Boris Johnson pledges to ease U.K. research visas, but plows ahead toward Brexit," 9 Aug. 2019 For him, the risk of constant documentation is alienation: a sense that our bodies are generating still moments rather than constant movement. Nausicaa Renner, The New Yorker, "How Social Media Shapes Our Identity," 8 Aug. 2019 But the risk is worth it, especially if the alternative is ghosting. Alexandra Ossola, Quartzy, "Use this perfect breakup text to cure the terrible ghosting trend," 8 Aug. 2019 The love for carbon dioxide can also put pregnant people at more risk for mosquito bites, since pregnant people tend to exhale 21 percent more CO2 than non-pregnant people of the same age and size. Elizabeth King, Allure, "Why Mosquitos Bite Some People More Than Others," 8 Aug. 2019 For example, when the jet stream takes a big dip in the middle of the country in the spring, the risk for violent thunderstorms that can unleash damaging winds and hail and delay travel increases. Amy Ettinger, The Know, "Climate change is coming for your travel plans. Here’s how to cope.," 6 Aug. 2019 During red flag weather events, when the fire risk is greatest, the helicopter will be pre-positioned in North County. Ramona Sentinel, "County to share lease cost for second firefighting helitanker," 5 Aug. 2019 The risk now, economists say, is that businesses could trim hiring to match their pullback in capital spending. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump’s new China tariffs take aim at heart of the U.S. economy: Consumers," 3 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The cumbersome knockout process required inserting a bacterial gene that would land randomly in the genome, which risked accidentally turning on a cancer gene or causing other problems. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, "China’s CRISPR push in animals promises better meat, novel therapies, and pig organs for people," 31 July 2019 The boxer risked everything and put his faith in this odd band of liberators. Greg Bishop, SI.com, "Immigrant Song," 30 July 2019 But when Singer cooperates with the FBI and pleads guilty, the mothers, who risked everything for their kids, must face the consequences of their crimes and the loss of trust and respect from their families. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Get ready for the Lori Loughlin-inspired Lifetime movie about the college admissions scandal," 24 July 2019 Joanna risks everything by relying on an unexpected witness. Chuck Barney, Detroit Free Press, "TV highlights for the week of July 21-27," 19 July 2019 Philip pleaded guilty to assisting in a suicide attempt—doing otherwise would have risked legal expenses Philip couldn’t afford—and their focus shifted to convincing the judge to be lenient in sentencing. Ann Neumann, Harper's magazine, "Going to Extremes," 10 June 2019 With the 23-year-old right-hander not on the 40-man roster, Miami would have to remove a player — and risk them being claimed by another team. Wells Dusenbury, sun-sentinel.com, "Caleb Smith heading to the IL; Marlins MLB draft draws strong reviews," 7 June 2019 Cicely isn’t about to risk the life she’s built in a lovely Crown Heights brownstone, having married an abusive but well-to-do man and become a mother. Adrienne Green, The Atlantic, "The Costs of Going After Love," 7 June 2019 That there are some things there are worth risking everything for. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Read Barack Obama’s eulogy for Sen. John McCain," 1 Sep. 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

13 Aug 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 How to pronounce risk (audio) \

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 How to pronounce risk (audio) \

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

a usually brief trip or an expedition

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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!