The possible loss of something of value.
Blomkvist, A. "Psychological aspects of values and risks". In L Sjöberg (Ed) Risk and Society, Allen & Unwin: London. 1987:89
’Risk’ is the probability of an event combined with the magnitude of the losses and gains that it will entail. However, our political discourse debases the word. From a complex attempt to reduce uncertainty it has become a decorative flourish on the word ‘danger’.
Douglas, M. Risk and Blame: Essays in Cultural Theory, Routledge: London. 1992:40
[Risk] is defined, by most of those who seek to measure it, as the product of the probability and utility of some future event.
Adams, J. Risk London: UCL Press. 1995:3
A combination of the probability, or frequency, of occurrence of a defined hazard and the magnitude of the consequences of the occurrence: how often is a particular potentially harmful event going to occur, [and] what are the consequences of this occurrence?
Harding, R. (ed) Environmental decision-making: the roles of scientists, engineers and the public. The Federation Press: Sydney. 1998:167
[Risk] does not exist ‘out there,’ independent of our minds and cultures, waiting to be measured. Instead, human beings have invented the concept risk to help them understand and cope with the dangers and uncertainties of life. Although these dangers are real, there is no such thing as ‘real risk’ or ‘objective risk.’ The nuclear engineer’s probabilistic risk estimate for a nuclear accident or the toxicologist’s quantitative estimate of a chemical’s carcinogenic risk are both based on theoretical models, whose structure is subjective and assumption-laden, and whose inputs are dependent on judgement.
Slovic, P. Trust, emotion, sex, politics, and science: Surveying the risk-assessment battlefield. Risk Analysis 19 (4): 1999:690