Russian

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Related to Russians: Russian culture

Russian roulette

1. A potentially fatal game of chance involving a revolver loaded with a single bullet, in which each participant in turn spins the cylinder so that the bullet's location is unknown, puts the barrel to his or her head, and pulls the trigger. A student of the university died over the weekend after apparently playing a game of Russian roulette with other members of his fraternity.
2. By extension, any reckless, foolish, and/or dangerous act or stunt, especially that in which the risk of danger or trouble is increased with the number of times one does it. Your company might have passed its audit this year, Mr. Fisk, but every year is going to be Russian roulette so long as this embezzlement continues. You're playing Russian roulette every single time you get behind the wheel of a car when you've been drinking.
See also: roulette, Russian

Black Russian

An alcoholic beverage made of coffee liqueur and vodka. Usually served over ice. Can I get a rum and coke, a glass of wine, and a Black Russian, please? I love Black Russians, but Ryan can't stand them. I think it's because he doesn't like the taste of coffee.
See also: black, Russian

play Russian roulette

to take foolish and dangerous risks She accused the hospital of playing Russian roulette with the health of poor children.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of Russian roulette (a dangerous game of chance in which you hold a gun containing one bullet to your head and shoot, winning if the bullet does not come out)
See also: play, roulette, Russian

play Russian roulette

to take big risks, in a way which is very dangerous
Usage notes: Russian roulette is a very dangerous game where players aim a gun containing one bullet at their own heads.
(often + with ) I'm not willing to play Russian roulette with people's lives by drinking and driving.
See also: play, roulette, Russian
References in classic literature ?
The multitude finally comprehended that the Russians would not put to death a body of twenty thousand men, without arms, torpid, stupid, unable to defend themselves; and each man awaited his fate with horrible resignation.
They started for the Russian lines, toward one of the batteries which had so decimated the hapless wretches lying on the banks of the river.
Fur Trade in the Pacific- American Coasting Voyages- Russian Enterprises.
To promote and protect these enterprises, a company was incorporated by the Russian government with exclusive privileges, and a capital of two hundred and sixty thousand pounds sterling; and the sovereignty of that part of the American continent, along the coast of which the posts had been established, was claimed by the Russian crown, on the plea that the land had been discovered and occupied by its subjects.
As, in extending the American trade along the coast to the northward, it might be brought into the vicinity of the Russian Fur Company, and produce a hostile rivalry, it was part of the plan of Mr.
The mess was in no mood just then to weigh insults to Russian colonels.
The rest was a blank that the dreaded Russian tongue could only in part remove.
But I saw thee not, that night, when all thy people - yea, even the boys not yet hunters - fell upon the Russians and slew them all.
Even now is he on our heels, and with him many Russians fresh up from the sea.
The ape had made no move to attack the Russian but even so the man was none too sure of what might happen were he to interfere with the savage beast, now thoroughly aroused to bestial rage, and with the smell of new spilled blood fresh in its nostrils.
Slowly the ape permitted itself to be led to one side, nor did it show the slightest indication of a desire to harm the Russian.
Above everything I wanted to pick a quarrel with the Frenchman; and, with that end in view I turned to the General, and exclaimed in an overbearing sort of way--indeed, I think that I actually interrupted him--that that summer it had been almost impossible for a Russian to dine anywhere at tables d'hote.
Both at Paris and on the Rhine, and even in Switzerland--there are so many Poles, with their sympathisers, the French, at these tables d'hote that one cannot get a word in edgeways if one happens only to be a Russian.
She knew, of course, the deep hatred that the Russian felt for the Englishman, and she could think of but one reason for having him brought aboard the ship--to dispatch him in comparative safety in revenge for his having thwarted Rokoff's pet schemes, and for having been at last the means of landing him in a French prison.
Lord Greystoke," commenced the Russian, "by your continued and wanton interference with M.