AskDefine | Define hazard

Dictionary Definition



1 a source of danger; a possibility of incurring loss or misfortune; "drinking alcohol is a health hazard" [syn: jeopardy, peril, risk]
2 an unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that causes an event to result one way rather than another; "bad luck caused his downfall"; "we ran into each other by pure chance" [syn: luck, fortune, chance]
3 an obstacle on a golf course


1 put forward, of a guess, in spite of possible refutation; "I am guessing that the price of real estate will rise again"; "I cannot pretend to say that you are wrong" [syn: guess, venture, pretend]
2 put at risk; "I will stake my good reputation for this" [syn: venture, adventure, stake, jeopardize]
3 take a risk in the hope of a favorable outcome; "When you buy these stocks you are gambling" [syn: gamble, chance, risk, take chances, adventure, run a risk, take a chance]

User Contributed Dictionary



From hasard a game of dice < From Arabic az-zahr the dice




  1. To chance; to take a risk.
    I'll hazard a guess.


to chance; to take a risk

Related terms



hazard (plural: hazards)

Extensive Definition

For other uses of Hazard, see Hazard (disambiguation)
A Hazard is a situation which poses a level of threat to life, health, property or environment. Most hazards are dormant or potential, with only a theoretical risk of harm, however, once a hazard becomes 'active', it can create an emergency situation.

Modes of a Hazard

A hazard is usually used to describe a potentially harmful situation, although not usually the event itself - once the incident has started it is classified as an emergency or incident. There are a number of modes for a hazard, which include:
  • Dormant - The situation has the potential to be hazardous, but no people, property or environment is currently affected by this. For instance, a hillside may be unstable, with the potential for a landslide, but there is nothing below or on the hillside which could be affected.
  • Potential - Also known as 'Armed', this is a situation where the hazard is in the position to affect persons, property or environment. This type of hazard is likely to require further risk assessment.
  • Active - The hazard is certain to cause harm, as no intervention is possible before the incident occurs.
  • Mitigated - A potential hazard has been identified, but actions have been taken in order to ensure it does not become an incident. This may not be an absolute guarantee of no risk, but it is likely to have been undertaken to significantly reduce the danger.

Classifying Hazards

By its nature, a hazard involves something which could potentially be harmful to a person's life, health, property or to the environment. There are a number of methods of classifying a hazard, but most systems use some variation on the factors of Likelihood of the hazard turning into an incident and the Seriousness of the incident if it were to occur.
A common method is to score both likelihood and seriousness on a numerical scale (with the most likely and most serious scoring highest) and multiplying one by the other in order to reach a comparative score.
Risk = Likelihood of Occurrence x Seriousness if incident occurred.
This score can then be used to identify which hazards may need to be mitigated. A low score on likelihood of occurrence may mean that the hazard is dormant, whereas a high score would indicate that it may be an Active hazard.

Causes of hazards

There are many causes , but they can broadly be termed into:
  • Natural - Natural hazards include anything which is caused by a natural process, and can include obvious hazards such as volcanoes to smaller scale hazards such as loose rocks on a hillside
  • Man made - Hazards created by humans, which includes a huge array of possibilities, probably too many to list, as it includes long term (and sometimes disputed) effects such as global warming to immediate hazards such as building sites
  • Activity related - Some hazards are created by the undertaking of a certain activity, and the cessation of the activity will negate the risk. This includes hazards ie. flying.
hazard in German: Gefährdung
hazard in Modern Greek (1453-): Κίνδυνος
hazard in Finnish: Hasardi
hazard in French: Risque
hazard in Japanese: ハザード
hazard in Russian: Азарт

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

accident, adventure, ante, ante up, assume, attempt, back, bechance, befall, bet, bet on, betide, bingo, block, blockade, book, bottleneck, brave, breakers ahead, calculated risk, call, card games, cardhouse, casualty, catch, cause for alarm, chance, chance hit, chance it, chuck and toss, chuck farthing, chuck-a-luck, chunk, come, come along, compromise, contingency, contingent, cordon, court destruction, cover, crack-loo, crap game, crap shooting, craps, crisis, curtain, danger, dangerous ground, dare, defy danger, desultoriness, determent, deterrent, difficulty, drawback, emergency, encounter danger, endanger, endangerment, expose, face up to, fade, fan-tan, flier, fluke, forget the odds, fortuity, fortune, freak accident, gamble, gamble on, gamble with, gaping chasm, gathering clouds, handbook, hang-up, hap, happen, happen along, happen by chance, happening, happenstance, hitch, horse racing, house of cards, hurdle, imperil, imperilment, incur danger, infirmity, insecurity, insolidity, instability, insubstantiality, jeopard, jeopardize, jeopardy, joker, keno, lay, lay a wager, lay down, lay open, long odds, long shot, lotto, luck, lucky shot, make a bet, make bold, make free, meet a bet, menace, objection, obstacle, obstruction, obstructive, one small difficulty, parlay, pass, peril, perilousness, pinball, pinch, pitch and toss, play, play against, play with fire, plight, plunge, policy, pop up, precariousness, predicament, presume, pretend, punt, put in danger, put in jeopardy, quicksand, rely on fortune, risk, riskiness, rocks ahead, rouge et noir, roulette, rub, run a chance, run the chance, run the risk, see, set at hazard, shakiness, shell game, shiftiness, shiftingness, shot, slipperiness, snag, speculation, speculativeness, stake, stand pat, storm clouds, strait, stumbling block, stumbling stone, sweepstake, sweepstakes, take a chance, take a flier, take chances, take the liberty, tempt Providence, tempt fortune, the numbers, the numbers game, thin ice, threat, threaten, ticklishness, treacherousness, treachery, trente-et-quarante, trust to chance, try the chance, turn up, unauthenticity, unauthoritativeness, uncertainty, undependability, unfaithworthiness, unreliability, unsolidity, unsoundness, unsteadfastness, unsteadiness, unsubstantiality, unsureness, untrustworthiness, venture, wager
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