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See also the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica's article on:
English Wikipedia has an article on:

Alternative forms[edit]


From earlier risque, from Middle French risque, from Italian risco (risk) (modern Italian rischio) and rischiare (to run into danger). Most dictionaries consider the etymology of these Italian terms uncertain, but some suggest they perhaps come from Vulgar Latin *resicum (that which cuts, rock, crag) (> Medieval Latin resicu), from Latin resecō (cut off, loose, curtail, verb), in the sense of that which is a danger to boating or shipping; or from Ancient Greek ῥιζικόν (rhizikón, root, radical, hazard).

A few dictionaries express more certainty. Collins says the Italian risco comes from Ancient Greek ῥίζα (rhíza, cliff) due to the hazards of sailing along rocky coasts. The American Heritage says it probably comes from Byzantine Greek ῥιζικό, ριζικό (rhizikó, rizikó, sustenance obtained by a soldier through his own initiative, fortune), from Arabic رِزْق(rizq, sustenance, that which God allots), from Classical Syriac ܪܘܙܝܩܐ ,ܪܙܩܐ(rezqā, rōzīqā, daily ration), from Middle Persian [script needed] (rōčig), from Middle Persian [script needed] (rōč, day), from Old Persian [script needed] (*raučah-), from Proto-Indo-European *lewk-.

Cognate with Spanish riesgo, Portuguese risco


  • IPA(key): /ɹɪsk/
  • (file)
  • Homophones: RISC, risque (rare dialect)
  • Rhymes: -ɪsk


risk (plural risks)

  1. A possible, usually negative, outcome, e.g., a danger.
    • Macaulay
      the imminent and constant risk of assassination, a risk which has shaken very strong nerves
    • 2006, BBC News website, Farmers warned over skin cancer read at [1] on 14 May 2006
      There was also a "degree of complacency" that the weather in the country was not good enough to present a health risk.
    • 2013 June 22, “Snakes and ladders”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8841, page 76:
      Risk is everywhere. From tabloid headlines insisting that coffee causes cancer (yesterday, of course, it cured it) to stern government warnings about alcohol and driving, the world is teeming with goblins. For each one there is a frighteningly precise measurement of just how likely it is to jump from the shadows and get you.
  2. The likelihood of a negative outcome.
    I'm taking a risk of being brutalized, arrested, imprisoned and tortured, all because I want you to know the truth about this matter.
    • 2006, Trever Ramsey on BBC News website, Exercise 'cuts skin cancer risk' read at [2] on 14 May 2006
      Taking regular exercise, coupled with a healthy diet, reduced the risk of several types of cancer.
    • 2012 January 1, Stephen Ledoux, “Behaviorism at 100”, in American Scientist, volume 100, number 1, page 60:
      Becoming more aware of the progress that scientists have made on behavioral fronts can reduce the risk that other natural scientists will resort to mystical agential accounts when they exceed the limits of their own disciplinary training.
  3. (Formal use in business, engineering, etc.) The potential (conventionally negative) effect of an event, determined by combining the likelihood of the event occurring with the effect should it occur.
    • 2002, Decisioneering Inc website, What is risk? read at [3] on 14 May 2006
      If there is a 25% chance of running over schedule, costing you a $100 out of your own pocket, that might be a risk you are willing to take. But if you have a 5% chance of running overschedule, knowing that there is a $10,000 penalty, you might be less willing to take that risk.
  4. (insurance) An entity insured by an insurer or the specific uncertain events that the insurer underwrites.


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


risk (third-person singular simple present risks, present participle risking, simple past and past participle risked)

  1. (transitive) To incur risk (of something).
    • 2006, Transportation Alternatives website, Rail delays as thieves cut power read at [4] on 14 May 2006
      These people are putting themselves in danger by physically being on or near to the railway lines and risking serious injury.
  2. (transitive) To incur risk of harming or jeopardizing.
    • 2006, BBC Sport website, Beckham wary over Rooney comeback read at [5] on 14 May 2006
      England captain David Beckham has warned Wayne Rooney not to risk his long-term future by rushing his return from injury.
  3. (transitive) To incur risk as a result of (doing something).
    • 1999, BBC News website, Volunteer of the Month: Andrew Hay McConnell read at [6] on 14 May 2006
      After coming to New York, I decided to risk cycling again.

Usage notes[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

See also[edit]






risk c

  1. risk


Declension of risk 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative risk risken risker riskerna
Genitive risks riskens riskers riskernas



Old Norse hressa (be facetious), Helsingian ressa (“be unruly, very cheerful and lively”), Norwegian rissa (be noisy, crazy).


risk (preterite riskä)

  1. (intransitive) To wrestle, play, joke, amuse oneself.