Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

risk - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive]     risk pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
present participlerisking
past tenserisked
past participlerisked
  1. 1
    to do something that makes it possible for something important or valuable to be destroyed, damaged, or lost

    Do you realize how much you’re risking by supporting him in this?

    risk something on something:

    It’s a lot of money to risk on such an uncertain venture.

    Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      to be in a situation in which something unpleasant or dangerous could happen to you
      risk death:

      Reports indicated that up to 4,000,000 people risked death from starvation.

      risk doing something:

      We don’t want to risk becoming involved in a civil war.

      Synonyms and related words
  2. 2
    to do something although you know that something bad could happen as a result

    She risked a quick glance back over her shoulder.

    risk doing something:

    Do you think I should risk sending him a letter?

    risk it (=risk doing something):

    It was a no-parking zone, but I decided to risk it anyway.

    Synonyms and related words
  • Facebook
  • Twitter


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play