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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The latest such tool, which assesses the risk for obesity, illustrates both the promise and the limitations of this emerging area of research. Betsy Mckay, WSJ, "Risk Scores Assess Ties Between Genes and Obesity, Disease," 18 Apr. 2019 So, was the risk Amazing Race took this season worth it? Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Amazing Race' Fans Are DONE With Season 31 After Discovering the Truth About the 2019 Contestants," 18 Apr. 2019 Sending Quentin to the underworld is arguably the biggest risk that The Magicians has ever done. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, ""The Magicians" Finale Just Pulled Off Its Most Heart-wrenching Risk Yet," 18 Apr. 2019 The key invention is a new, non-flammable electrolyte that erases the safety risks associated with today’s ubiquitous lithium-ion batteries. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "New Lithium Metal Batteries Can Power Drones for Longer (and It Could Change Everything)," 16 Apr. 2019 Labour craves a national election, despite the risk that voters could decide to punish all politicians amid exasperation over the Brexit debacle. Jill Lawless, The Seattle Times, "Shame, sadness in UK as Brexit reveals Parliament’s flaws," 14 Apr. 2019 As Timmer wrote in September: Science Fair makes clear that its subjects are humane, working on things like simple testing for arsenic in water, a defense against Zika virus, or a better understanding of at-risk teens. Sam Machkovech And Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Films for the discerning nerd: Ars picks the best of 2018," 27 Dec. 2018 By plugging data into standardized AI templates, auditors, analysts and actuaries who lack specialized AI training are able to identify sales prospects, spot risks and fraud, and boost organizational efficiency. ... John Murawski, WSJ, "Yes, You Too Can Be an AI Expert," 1 Apr. 2019 There is also a risk that any plans made now would leak and cause trouble or be overtaken by later events. Katie Frost, Town & Country, "What Will Happen When Queen Elizabeth II Dies?," 25 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In Tony’s case, however, that often meant persuading them to risk their lives doing something outwardly ridiculous. Sam Walker, WSJ, "The Offbeat Genius of a Great American Spy," 26 Jan. 2019 The award is given to those who risk their lives and go above and beyond the call of duty. Kathleen Joyce, Fox News, "Trump to posthumously award Medal of Honor to Sgt. John Chapman for heroism in Al Qaeda firefight," 22 Aug. 2018 Meanwhile, the number of Tunisians ready to risk their lives to seek work abroad because of the economic crisis in their country has risen sharply. The Economist, "Italy’s new government wants to deport 500,000 people," 7 June 2018 Legislators risk losing a $10,000 pay raise for 2020 if the budget isn’t adopted by April 1. Jimmy Vielkind, WSJ, "New York Senate, Assembly to Lay Out Their Visions for State Budget," 10 Mar. 2019 Such perceptions are consistent with the popular image of the firefighter as a daring individual who is willing to risk life and limb to save the life of a total stranger and who is lauded for doing so. Mike Hendricks, kansascity, "Fire departments fight a culture that saves — and costs — lives," 13 July 2018 But Americans keep speeding, willing to risk the financial consequences, which vary wildly from state to state. Fortune, "Speeding in These States Will Cost You a Fortune," 6 July 2018 Now these lawyers risk jail time if they so much as help a client fill out a complicated Hungarian-language form. Laura King, latimes.com, "The European country that makes the U.S. look lenient on immigration," 28 June 2018 Big projects risk distracting attention from the hard work of, say, improving legal standards. The Economist, "Breaking the curseWhy Gulf economies struggle to wean themselves off oil," 21 June 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.

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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

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Statistics for risk

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for risk

The first known use of risk was in 1655

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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

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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

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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

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