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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

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

Vatican roulette

n. the rhythm method of birth control. My parents lost at Vatican roulette, and I am the booby prize.
See also: roulette
References in periodicals archive ?
And on Wednesday it changed the computer program for his shop near Birmingham so roulette can no longer be played.
Maybe it's time for you to play Social Roulette," said Social Roulette developers in a (http://socialroulette.
Speaking to the Scottish Sun newspaper, a neighbour claims that Mr McWilliams had been "playing Russian roulette with a pal and the gun went off".
Ask any betting shop manager, as I have, if roulette machines have increased problems in betting shops, increased problem gambling and increased the pressure on the type of gambler who can least afford to lose, and you'll get a near 100 per cent response that they have.
John added it could have been a hoax but Ronaldo has posted videos of himself speaking to Brazilian teammates on Chat Roulette before.
A MAN found shot dead at his Birmingham home may have been playing Russian roulette, an inquest heard.
Interblock USA, LC, a US-based subsidiary of Elektroncek dd Interblock manufacturing automated electro-mechanical and video Roulette, Dice and Card products, has received final approval in Nevada, US, for its Organic Roulette game.
A GAMBLER has been banned from casinos across Britain - after winning pounds 28,000 at roulette with his 'no-lose' system.
Her lawyer said: "We expect the coroner's report to show the shooting was a result of the victim's chronic playing of Russian Roulette and his dangerous playing with firearms while under the use of controlled substances.
Packed with charts, FDA review information, details on regulatory issues and industry studies, and overall health concerns, GENETIC ROULETTE is a unique reference not to be missed.
Mr Dejfar was playing the roulette tables and claims his number came up on one wheel, winning him pounds 175, while he had moved on and was playing another.
If you were never a blues fan, you'll be easily transformed just from listening to Slidin' Clyde Roulette Band's album, Let's Take A Ride.
Based on these statistics, it is apparent that the vast majority of companies are essentially playing Russian roulette with their systems and data, and ultimately, the future survival of their businesses.
Rouletted ware is dish-shaped and contains bands of indentations on the interior base, which include a variety of shapes, such as parallel lines, triangles, diamonds, and dots, and were possibly produced using a roulette (Begley 1988) (Figure 1).
Allen describes himself as a lifelong Episcopalian; Roulette says he shunned religion for a long time.