The word risk is used to describe a situation in which there are several possible outcomes each entailing a possible loss, and one is not certain as to which of the outcomes will happen. What I want is an opposite of the word risk, which still describes a situation in which there are several possible outcomes and one is uncertain as to which of the outcomes will happen, but this time, each outcomes entails a gain instead of a loss.

If you look for the antonyms of risk, you get words like security, safety, which I don't think entail the uncertainty as to the outcome.

  • Surely, the investment industry has many euphemisms for describing uncertain outcomes in a favourable light ... or maybe the word 'risk' has no negative connotations for them. – pavium Jun 27 '11 at 7:53
  • Actually risk is not always a possible loss from the economic standpoint. Risks which can lead only to a possible loss are called pure risks, while the other ones with possible good outcomes are called speculative risks. – Malcolm Jan 8 '12 at 9:26

A nice word could be:


As in:

"Being a manager of this branch is prospective indeed."

  • Prospective... love it! I can't up-vote (I'm not registered), so I'll wait a little more to see if I get more answers, but I think this is it. – becko Jun 27 '11 at 6:03
  • 1
    @becko, ELUSE is one great community. I really recommend registering today!!!! – Thursagen Jun 27 '11 at 6:06
  • I know ELUSE and many other stackexchange sites are great communities, but I can't register because I can't access https sites. Sorry... But at least I can select answers. – becko Jun 27 '11 at 6:18
  • @becko He means EL&U (English Language & Usage), this very site. – kiamlaluno Jun 27 '11 at 6:20
  • @Kiam - Becko knows, but to register you need to go through https – mplungjan Jun 27 '11 at 6:32

Opportunity is another one.

Antonymous meaning is evident in phrases like: "risks and opportunities".

Yourdictionary lists these synonyms for opportunity: chance, occasion, suitable circumstance, juncture, opening, excuse, happening, contingency, event, befalling, probability, fitness, fortuity, good fortune, luck, hap, fair go, break, even break, shot; some of these have positive connotation and might also apply.


A chance is a possibility that something happens; it's not used in negative sense as risk, but still it's not a certainty.

Our football team has a chance of victory.

  • But I don't see how chance implies a gain. Chance only implies uncertainty. I need a word that implies both gain and uncertainty. – becko Jun 27 '11 at 6:20
  • @becko, opportunity, chance and prospect/prospective all have at least one meaning that can be interpreted as possibility of gain. Chance and prospective can both refer to negative; they can be: gloomy, horrible and hopeless or bad. You can apply similar attributes to opportunity and prospect, but the effect would only reflect in the meaning of gain. – Unreason Jun 27 '11 at 8:10

Risk averse is often used corporately. The betting industry has many terms such as odds-on, dead-cert, risk-free but the accuracy of these claims are often suspect.


I don't think there is an answer to this question as asked, because it assumes there is a "zero level" above which all outcomes are good, and below which all outcomes are bad. The marketing industry would like you to believe this: they will happily sell you a 'guaranteed winning ticket' that will entitle you to a negligible prize. But in the real world, a loss avoided is a gain (if your investments lost only 5% when the rest of the stock market lost 25%, you were lucky or skilful), and an opportunity missed is a genuine loss (keeping your money under the mattress costs you money at the rate of inflation). So risk, gamble, luck apply as much to good outcomes as bad ones: the trick is to choose which risks you take.

  • Don't know which real world you are in, but loss avoided is not gain (it can be gain compared to target if you were pessimistic when setting it, or it can be gain compared to the rest of the market; moreover this usage, I believe, comes from accounting and is influenced by the way transactions are booked) -1 – Unreason Jun 27 '11 at 11:41

I think the betting term for a LIKELY WIN is "vig" for "vigorish." That is, what the casino expects to make on a particular bet (that's stacked in its favor). The "house" could even lose, but it is an overwhelming favorite to win.



"Reward for information leading to the arrest of..."

"The higher the risk, the higher the reward."

You don't know what you're going to get, but it is desirable.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.