take a risk: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘take a risk’ mean?

The idiom "take a risk" means to undertake an action or make a decision that involves uncertainty or potential danger, often in pursuit of a desired outcome. It implies a willingness to face potential negative consequences and to step outside of one's comfort zone.

Idiom Explorer


**Take a risk** is an idiomatic expression commonly used in American English. Its origins can be traced back to the early 1800s when risk-taking gained value in American society due to the pioneering spirit and the pursuit of the American Dream.

The idiom *take a risk* is formed by combining the verb *take* and the noun *risk*. In this context, the verb *take* means to engage in an action or accept a challenge, while *risk* refers to the possibility of loss or danger. As a whole, this idiom signifies the act of willingly and knowingly undertaking a potentially hazardous or uncertain endeavor.

When someone is encouraged or advised to *take a risk*, it implies stepping out of their comfort zone and venturing into the unknown, despite possible negative outcomes. It suggests a willingness to confront uncertainty and potential harm with resilience and courage.

One related idiom is *take a gamble*. This phrase emphasizes the element of uncertainty and chance involved in taking risks. Just like someone who takes a risk, someone who takes a gamble is willing to face potential loss or failure in pursuit of a favorable outcome.

Taking a chance can be a bold adventure.

Another related idiom is *run a risk*. This phrase emphasizes the notion of actively engaging in risky behavior or making decisions with uncertain outcomes. Similar to taking a risk, running a risk is about recognizing the potential dangers or negative consequences and still proceeding with the endeavor.

Similarly, the idiom *take one's chance* also relates to taking a risk. It suggests seizing an opportunity and embracing the uncertainty that comes with it. It implies that there is a possibility of success or failure, but regardless of the outcome, the individual is willing to take the risk and see what happens.

Another idiom, *take a flyer*, shares similarities with taking a risk. This phrase implies a bolder and more daring approach, where individuals are willing to make impulsive decisions without overanalyzing the potential consequences. It emphasizes spontaneity and a willingness to embrace the unknown.

Lastly, *take a chance* is another idiom related to taking a risk. Like the phrase *take a risk*, it emphasizes the willingness to step outside one's comfort zone and embrace uncertainty. Taking a chance means not shying away from potential failures but rather seeing them as opportunities for growth and learning.

These idioms, including "take a gamble," "run a risk," "take one's chance," "take a flyer," and "take a chance," all relate to the broader concept of risk-taking. They emphasize the willingness to confront uncertainty, embrace challenges, and potentially face negative consequences in pursuit of personal growth and success.

These idioms capture the essence of the American spirit of risk-taking and entrepreneurship, reminding individuals of the benefits and rewards that can result from stepping outside their comfort zones. They encourage individuals to be bold, seize opportunities, and pursue their goals without fear of failure.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom *take a risk* can be used in a sentence:

1. She decided to take a risk and quit her stable job to pursue her dream of starting her own business.

2. The athlete took a risk by attempting a difficult new trick during the competition.

3. The company decided to take a risk and invest a large sum of money in a new and untested market.

More "Risk" idioms