\ 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


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

Other Words from risk


riskless \ ˈrisk-​ləs How to pronounce risk (audio) \ adjective


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 move comes a month after a prescribed burn — which are used to reduce wildfire risk — spread out of its boundary in New Mexico and became the largest wildfire currently burning in the United States. Phil Helsel, NBC News, 21 May 2022 Four bills filed late Friday in the state House and Senate would create a new fund in which insurers can purchase insurance to help insulate them from risk. Orlando Sentinel, 21 May 2022 The streamers have a huge risk appetite for genre stuff. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 May 2022 The program provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals and other support for women and children up to age 5 who are found to be at nutritional risk. cleveland, 20 May 2022 Value averaging is the brainchild of Michael Edleson, ex-chief economist at the Nasdaq stock exchange and former chief risk officer for the University of Chicago’s endowment. Jason Zweig, WSJ, 20 May 2022 The great challenge and risk linked to brand perception to achieve marketing goals is not lost on them. Forrester, Forbes, 20 May 2022 Escape one area of fighting and risk ending up near another. Isabelle Khurshudyan And Sudarsan Raghavan, Anchorage Daily News, 20 May 2022 Fortunately for Amelia, her aunt's fashion risk helped pave the way for such a glamorous red carpet moment. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, 20 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb By putting more money in people’s pockets, policymakers risk further stimulating already rampant consumer demand, pushing prices higher nationally. New York Times, 10 May 2022 With its 40-day correlation with the S&P 500 stock benchmark at a record 0.82, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, any further hit to equities sentiment would risk dragging Bitcoin down as well. al, 9 May 2022 The Ukrainians can’t risk leaving their own rear unguarded. David Axe, Forbes, 5 May 2022 But in some cities, where home prices are rising fast and inflation is particularly high, residents risk having to face both problems at once. Tristan Bove, Fortune, 4 May 2022 That puts the government in a tough spot, especially with an election coming in a few months: Tightening too early could risk nipping the green shoots of growth, but easing might drive consumer prices higher through an even weaker yen. Jacky Wong, WSJ, 2 May 2022 Volunteers risk the shelling to deliver water bottles, food and power banks to charge up phones. Los Angeles Times, 2 May 2022 Beyond that, would any team risk the bad publicity and likely backlash from its fan base for signing Bauer? Peter Abraham, BostonGlobe.com, 30 Apr. 2022 In such an environment, a tiny network of environmental crusaders, led by the charismatic Bobby, Tata and Mayor Nieves, risk their lives and the safety of their families to prevent the thieving and destruction of their homeland. Leo Barraclough, Variety, 28 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of risk


1655, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1660, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for risk


French risque, from Italian risco

Learn More About risk

Dictionary Entries Near risk

rising wood


risk capital

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for risk

Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Risk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/risk. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for risk


\ 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.


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.


\ 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



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

More from Merriam-Webster on risk

Nglish: Translation of risk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of risk for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about risk


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