Danger vs Risk
Danger and Risk are two words that are often confused due to the appearing similarity in their meanings, when strictly speaking, there is a difference between the two words. The word danger is used in the sense of ‘catastrophe’ or ‘peril.’ On the other hand, the word risk is used in the sense of ‘chance.’ This is the important difference between the words namely, danger and risk. They both carry negative meanings with them. Danger and risk are the words that people use when they are speaking of something that can happen to harm them. Let us see more about each term in order to understand the difference between each term.
What does Danger mean?
The word danger is used with the sense of catastrophe or peril. It is usually employed by people when they are describing situations when one can come under harm due to some fact. Observe the two sentences:
He saw a danger of losing his life in the battle.
There is a danger of losing marks if you answer the questions wrongly.
In the first sentence, you can see that the word danger is used in the sense of ‘catastrophe.’ Hence, the meaning of the first sentence would be ‘he saw a catastrophe of losing his life in the battle’. In the second sentence, the word danger is used in the sense ‘something unpleasant.’ So, the meaning of the second sentence would be ‘something unpleasant like losing marks will happen if you answer the questions wrongly.’ Then, look at the following sentence.
If you come with me, you will not be in danger anymore.
In this example, the speaker is telling someone that he or she will no longer be in a place or situation where others may harm him or her. So, here the word danger means ‘peril.’
Danger most of the time speaks about physical harm that can come to a person. You must have seen Danger signs near lakes or rivers that are too deep. There the danger sign says that swimming and cause death. So, you have to stay away from those waters. As we all know death is the biggest physical threat we can undergo.
The word danger has its adjectival form in the word ‘dangerous’ as in the expressions, ‘dangerous person,’ ‘dangerous animal’ and the like.
What does Risk mean?
The word risk is used in the sense of ‘chance.’ However, you have to remember that chance here is always associated with negativity. Observe the two sentences:
He undertook a lot of risks while building his home.
The insurance policy covers all types of risks such as fire, burglary, etc.
In both the sentences given above, you can see that the word risk is used in the sense of ‘chance.’ Hence, the meaning of the first sentence would be ‘he undertook a lot of chances while building his home.’ If the chances this person was facing at the time of building his house were good chances then the serious mood of the sentence would not be there. Also, if the chances were positive that person would have used another word such as opportunity. However, using risk here shows that this person had to face a lot of hardships, a lot of chances that could have ruined him completely. He has gambled with them to achieve his goal. In the same manner, the meaning of the second sentence would be the ‘the insurance policy covers all types of chances such as fire, burglary, etc.’ Now, here also, if the chances were some kind of good chances there is no need to take an insurance policy at all. People take insurance policies to make sure that they can find compensation for risks, untold negative chances that may come in their life.
The word risk has its adjectival form in the word ‘risky’ as in the expressions, ‘risky dive,’ ‘risky shot’ and the like. The word risk is used in hyphenated words like ‘risk-free.’
What is the difference between Danger and Risk?
• The word danger is used in the sense of ‘catastrophe’ or ‘peril.’
• The word risk is used in the sense of ‘chance.’
• Both danger and risk carry negative meanings.
• Danger has the adjective form in the word dangerous.
• Risk has the adjective form in the word risky.
• Synonyms of Danger and Risk:
• Synonyms for danger as peril, jeopardy, hazard, etc.
• Synonyms for risk are jeopardy, hazard, peril, threat, etc.
• Antonyms of Danger and Risk:
• Antonym for danger is safety.
• Antonym for risk is safety and impossibility.
These are the important differences between the two words, namely, danger and risk.
- Danger via Pixabay (Public Domain)
- House by Vonsky87 (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Andrea Cesare says
Risk = danger × chance × exposition
(“×” stands for vectorial product)