Russian roulette, to play

(redirected from to play Russian roulette)

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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
"Parents are not going to play Russian roulette with their children, putting them on the bus and sending them to school knowing there will be no help available for them.
You want to play Russian roulette with fans' safety all for profit.
"It seems the Company and the mandarins at the Department are prepared to play Russian Roulette with a public transport service that underpins the social and economic fabric of our capital city, rather than recognise workers at Dublin Bus are deserving of a significant pay rise after eight years of pay stagnation."
PAOLO DI CANIO is set to play Russian roulette with his managerial future by going for the Reading job.
"(W)ould you be willing to play Russian Roulette?" Fox News quoted the woman as saying in the message.
While David Blaine starves himself in a box and Derren Brown prepares to play Russian roulette with his life on live television, Will Mapplebeck asks if things might have gone too far in the name of magic.
So are men and women today more willing to play Russian Roulette with their sexual health than ever before?
According to Sierra Club scientist Navis Bermudez, "More than half of the antibiotics fed to factory-farmed animals to compensate for crowded conditions are identical, or nearly identical, to the ones doctors rely on for treating sick people." David Wallinga of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy argues, "We can't afford to play Russian Roulette with our existing antibiotics." CONTACT: Keep Antibiotics Working, (202)572-3250, www.keepantibioticsworking.com.
Why else would they continue to play Russian roulette with their choice of celebrity analysts to huddle up with Roger, Sally and big John around the coffee table?
She said: "Staff at the airport were very embarrassed and very understanding but they should not be required to play Russian roulette with people's lives."
SOME parents continue to play Russian roulette with their children's lives by not using the correct child safety seat.
The mother of a 20-year-old man who died after taking a single Ecstasy tablet yesterday urged young people not to play Russian roulette with their lives.
Most people don't like to play Russian roulette, even if the odds of getting the bullet are only one in 200.
Vietnamese government officials frequently appear in our literature and films as savages who force POWs to play Russian roulette (Deer Hunter) or as old-fashioned Hollywood torturers and liars.
CLAUDIO RANIERI is ready to play Russian roulette with Leicester's title charge.