I know it's an idiomatic synonym for "make a guess" or "take a guess," but what is the underlying basis for the phrase? Is "hazarding a guess" more dangerous than "taking a guess?"
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The word “hazard” is (probably) from an arabic word meaning “dice”, and came to English through French where it originally meant a game of dice and then more generally chance, randomness. The word further evolved in English to mean risk, then danger. I'll hazard the guess that “hazard a guess” is an idiom that retains the older meaning of “taking a chance on a guess”.
It's like “make a guess”, really. Maybe a bit more uncertain, even.
In addition to meaning, I should say that it is very commonly used:
As reported by the NOAD, one of the meanings of hazard (when used as verb) is "venture to say (something)."
protected by RegDwigнt♦ Mar 29 '12 at 9:52
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