At risk (dictionary)

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BoyWiki Dictionary: At risk (dictionary)
prep. phrase

¹ at risk: In a state or condition marked by a high level of risk or vulnerability.

Ex :The entire population initially seemed at risk of infection.‎[1]

Definitions from other sources

  • at risk: in a dangerous situation or status; in jeopardy
families at risk in the area of the weakened dam.
  • under financial or legal obligation; held responsible
Are individual investors at risk for the debt part of the real estate venture?[2]
  • at risk: vulnerable; likely to be lost or damaged
  • (social welfare) vulnerable to personal damage, to the extent that a welfare agency might take protective responsibility[3]

"At risk" in the social science fields

The term at risk is used frequently to describe children and youth and has a strong intuitive meaning. However, the term has no consistent definition and can be viewed as stigmatizing certain groups. Nevertheless, it is widely used.
The positive side of this confusion is that program providers have some leeway in how they define “at risk” for their programs. Despite this flexibility, it still is important to have a standard or a reference point for clear communication between providers, funders, policy makers, and the media about what “at risk” means. This brief highlights some of the issues surrounding the concept. Who is at risk? What are they at risk of? What can the information on risk be used for? Is a quantitative measure of “at-risk” desired? And what about protective factors? [...][4]

Current use of the term

As one can see from the above, "at risk"--as a meaningful, useful, descriptive phrase--is "at risk" of being complete nonsense. When you hear someone speak of a group as being "at risk" of some calamity, look for the soon-to-follow plea for more money to "save the children".

Some perfectly true examples of people now "at risk"

  • "Billions of children are at risk of dying from a lightening strike."
Yes, it's true. But only a few dozen or so actually do die from being struck by lightening every year.
  • "You, dear reader, are at risk of suffering cardiac arrest when you realize how much of what you see, hear, and read is absolutely without foundation."
Yes--when you discover how badly language is being mangled, manhandled, twisted, and distorted by "PWC" (People With Causes) your chance of suffering cardiac arrest may be higher than your chance of dying from a lightening strike. Much higher!


See also

External links

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