Russian


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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 their 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

1. Literally, to participate in a potentially deadly game of chance involving a revolver loaded with a single bullet, in which a participant spins the cylinder so that the bullet's location is unknown, puts the barrel to their head, and pull the trigger. A university student died while apparently playing Russian roulette with other members of his fraternity.
2. By extension, to commit or participate in 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 repeats it. You're playing Russian roulette every single time you get behind the wheel of a car when you've been drinking.
See also: play, roulette, Russian

play Russian roulette

COMMON If someone plays Russian roulette, they take big risks by doing something that might cause great problems or danger. Many organisations are playing Russian roulette with their greatest assets — their staff and their reputation. We're playing Russian roulette with our health, eating this rubbish. Note: If someone plays Russian roulette, they fire a gun containing only one bullet at their head without knowing whether the bullet will be released or not.
See also: play, roulette, Russian

play ˌRussian rouˈlette

take dangerous risks: The airline was accused of playing Russian roulette with the lives of their passengers.
Russian roulette is a dangerous game in which a person shoots a gun at their own head. The gun only contains one bullet so the person does not know if it will fire or not.
See also: play, roulette, Russian

Russian roulette, to play

To engage in a potentially fatal undertaking. The term refers to a game popularized by Russian officers at the czar’s court in which each player in turn, using a revolver that contains just one bullet, spins the cylinder, aims at his own head, and pulls the trigger. With a six-chamber cylinder, there is one chance in six that he will kill himself. The term was transferred to other highly risky undertakings in the first half of the twentieth century. “Abusive parents are often the scarred survivors of generations of Russian roulette,” stated an article in the medical journal the Lancet (1976).
See also: play, Russian
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