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 ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus