Definition of risk in English:

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Pronunciation: /risk/


1A situation involving exposure to danger: flouting the law was too much of a risk all outdoor activities carry an element of risk
More example sentences
  • He was closest to the situation, knew the risks, knew what they could gain from such a crime, and knew what they stood to lose if they were discovered, which was very little.
  • Young farm children need to be limited in their exposure to risks; older youths must be trained and closely supervised.
  • They are well aware of their threat exposure and understand the risks associated with the systems in use.
1.1 [in singular] The possibility that something unpleasant or unwelcome will happen: reduce the risk of heart disease [as modifier]: a high consumption of caffeine was suggested as a risk factor for loss of bone mass
More example sentences
  • Diabetes is also a huge risk factor for heart disease.
  • Obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
  • Folic acid helps prevent birth defects and may reduce the risk of heart disease.
chance, uncertainty, unpredictability, precariousness, instability, insecurity, perilousness, riskiness
possibility, chance, probability, likelihood, danger, peril, threat, menace, fear, prospect
1.2 [usually in singular with adjective] A person or thing regarded as likely to turn out well or badly, as specified, in a particular context or respect: Western banks regarded Romania as a good risk
More example sentences
  • Moreover, the puppies have not been socialized and tend to act in disturbing and aggressive ways, making them poor risks as pets.
1.3 [with adjective] A person or thing regarded as a threat or likely source of danger: she’s a security risk gloss paint can burn strongly and pose a fire risk
More example sentences
  • Fewer than one in three women received a health and safety risk assessment.
  • And those animals had too few worms to pose a public health risk, he says.
  • At the time the group concluded that there was no evidence to suggest that mobile phone technologies posed a health risk.
1.4 (usually risks) A possibility of harm or damage against which something is insured.
Example sentences
  • All insurers insist they underwrite risks, not certainties.
  • Other times it is simply an economic view of an industry or product where we insure or reinsure risks.
  • "Most airline risks are insured in the London market.
1.5The possibility of financial loss: [as modifier]: project finance is essentially an exercise in risk management
More example sentences
  • The management of financial risk is the most obvious dimension.
  • In terms of companies with the highest financial risk profile of those analysed, Greencore comes out on top when the three measures are taken together.
  • Each year a report is produced by the trustees of your pension scheme and every three years there is a valuation by actuaries, who analyse financial risk.


[with object]
1Expose (someone or something valued) to danger, harm, or loss: he risked his life to save his dog
More example sentences
  • I was afraid to risk you, and was worried you'd be in danger if she kept working for me.
  • I need to find a way to monitor the subjects without risking anybody's life.
  • I wasn't going to risk my friends safety, plus Nick was getting scary.
endanger, imperil, jeopardize, hazard, gamble, gamble with, chance;
put on the line, put in jeopardy
1.1Act or fail to act in such a way as to bring about the possibility of (an unpleasant or unwelcome event): unless you’re dealing with pure alcohol you’re risking contamination from benzene
More example sentences
  • I know you say that now, but we simply cannot risk another incident like this and have you lose your scholarship or even get suspended or expelled.
  • Today he was too concerned for Mariah to risk an accident.
  • My bet is nobody yet wants to risk the possibility of losing their subscribers to another such facility, through charging too much, or too early.
1.2Incur the chance of unfortunate consequences by engaging in (an action): he was far too intelligent to risk attempting to deceive her
More example sentences
  • We have a chance to clear you now, and I'm not risking it by having you there at the crime scene.
  • She couldn't risk anyone seeing it and spreading new rumors.
  • She didn't want to risk her parents hearing her come in this late.
chance, stand a chance of



at risk

Exposed to harm or danger: 23 million people in Africa are at risk from starvation
More example sentences
  • Children who use mobile phones are at risk of memory loss, sleeping disorders and other health problems.
  • Exposure assessment identifies the population at risk and the likelihood of exposure to the hazard.
  • Many include rare or threatened habitats that are home to species at risk.

at one's (own) risk

Used to indicate that if harm befalls a person or their possessions through their actions, it is their own responsibility: they undertook the adventure at their own risk
More example sentences
  • Anyone who brings their children is doing so at their own risk.
  • Further, any persons or institutions entering into any agreement with them should know that they are doing so at their own risk in that they may lose millions of money and credibility, of which the group shall not accept responsibility.
  • The bottom line: people who park their bikes outside during the winter do so at their own risk, and the city won't pay for any damages caused by public works operations..

at the risk of doing something

Although there is the possibility of something unpleasant resulting: at the risk of boring people to tears, I repeat the most important rule in painting
More example sentences
  • And - at the risk of giving something away - the family curse is not really lifted.
  • And at the risk of getting my heart broken, I took the easy way out, that being breaking up with you.
  • So, I'm going to speak my peace at the risk of shocking a lot of people I respect.

at risk to oneself (or something)

With the possibility of endangering oneself or something: he visited prisons at considerable risk to his health
More example sentences
  • What does he know about the humiliation of checkpoints, or about people being forced to travel on gravel and mud roads, at risk to their lives, in order to get a woman in labour to a hospital?
  • A parent, for example, will often defend its child against a dangerous enemy, at risk to the parent's life, when the parent could easily have made good its own escape by abandoning the child.
  • The groups, which have robustly campaigned against the danger of mobile phone masts and radiation waves near children and schools, may now be putting their children at risk to evil interferers.

risk one's neck

Put one’s life in danger.
Example sentences
  • A soldier risking his neck to keep the peace abroad should not have to worry about facing charges in a foreign court.
  • He risked his neck in speeding, overcrowded buses with bald tyres, he was shot at by bandits, robbed and spat at, obliged to sleep in malarial flop houses and insanitary trains and to wait interminably.
  • Following a period of mature reflection over Christmas, the man who said that the people of Ayr were his life and blood decided not to risk his neck by submitting himself for election before them.

run the risk (or run risks)

Expose oneself to the possibility of something unpleasant occurring: she preferred not to run the risk of encountering his sister
More example sentences
  • She was trapped, either stay outdoors and risk being caught by Kent, or stay with a man she hardly knew and run the risk of him possibly turning her over to the same man.
  • The only reason she hasn't actually said anything is because she absolutely adores Christine and so she would never run the risk of running the risk of losing her.
  • I think everybody runs risks talking about Social Security.


Mid 17th century: from French risque (noun), risquer (verb), from Italian risco 'danger' and rischiare 'run into danger'.

Words that rhyme with risk

bisque, brisk, disc, disk, fisc, frisk, whisk

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: risk

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