1. The possibility of suffering harm or loss; danger.
2. A factor, thing, element, or course involving uncertain danger; a hazard: "the usual risks of the desert: rattlesnakes, the heat, and lack of water" (Frank Clancy).
a. The danger or probability of loss to an insurer.
b. The amount that an insurance company stands to lose.
a. The variability of returns from an investment.
b. The chance of nonpayment of a debt.
5. One considered with respect to the possibility of loss: a poor risk.
tr.v. risked, risk·ing, risksIdiom:
1. To expose to a chance of loss or damage; hazard. See Synonyms at endanger.
2. To incur the risk of: His action risked a sharp reprisal.
In an endangered state, especially from lack of proper care: unsupervised children who are at risk of dropping out of school.
[French risque, from Italian risco, rischio, probably from Medieval Greek rizikon, sustenance obtained by a soldier through his own initiative, fortune, from Arabic rizq, sustenance, that which God allots, from Syriac ruziqā, daily bread, from Middle Iranian rōčig, from rōč, day, from Old Iranian *raučah-; see leuk- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.