play Russian roulette

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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
References in periodicals archive ?
Big shots on big salaries have played Russian roulette with other people's jobs and lost.
At school I played Russian roulette with bags of Revels.
They have unknowingly played Russian Roulette with their big day.
According to Miss Ivanova, he said, Mr McDaid then made a comment about at some stage having played Russian roulette before putting the gun to his head and firing it.
Tim Henman played Russian roulette on his way to booking a quarter-final place at the Dubai Tennis Championships yesterday.
TIM HENMAN played Russian roulette on his way to a quarter -final place at the Dubai Tennis Championships yesterday.
MIND control expert Derren Brown played Russian roulette 'live' on television despite fierce criticism that it was tasteless and irresponsible.
I'm still very shocked that the school district played Russian roulette with our children,'' said Norma Joyce, a Simi Valley schoolteacher.
Rather, in a "Dear Patsy" letter, the Senator wrote, "As for Mark, I wish he had not played Russian roulette with his sexual a have sympathy for him--and for you--but there is no escaping the reality of what happened.
The City of Alameda played Russian roulette with Jeptha McGee's life," said Bruce A.
He allegedly played Russian Roulette with four lovers by sleeping with them while he had the potentially fatal virus.
Psychological illusionist Derren Brown, left, hit the headlines in October 2003 when he played Russian roulette 'live' on Channel 4.
Where was he when the regulator had his feet up while bonkers bankers played Russian Roulette with the country's cash?
EU Commission President Jacques Santer played Russian roulette with Europe by threatening to quit if MEPs tried to sack his colleagues.