If I define the word risk as "chances of losing" what would be a word for "chances of winning/gaining"? Mere antonyms of "risk" such as "safety" are not acceptable.

EDIT: This question drew more attention than I expected; therefore, I feel I should have given more background of the need for this word.

In an hypothetical situation, a supervisor offers two compensation packages to a subordinate of his: one consisting of more stock, and less cash, and the other consisting of the opposite. Stocks, by their nature, carry more risks not only because of its variability in value, but also that usually there is a wait period (maturity). But it has possible advantages as well, not only because it could go up in value, but also in this hypothetical organization, employees investing more in its stock are considered to be taking ownership of it more and deemed to possibly stay longer, and thus, are more likely to be promoted. Therefore, this supervisor as he/she offering the packages, would like to say: Here they are, please weigh your risks and X's (one word that he is after)?

The first impression "risk" gives, in my opinion, is the possibility of something bad happening; or at least that is what he means. Therefore, being an eloquent person he is, he would like to say the opposite in word. Any yea, by the way, he is an ESL person :)

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    Not acceptable? Why is that? The standard terminology is risk vs. reward.
    – Xanne
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 17:18
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    "Expectation" is the technical term for the average payback on given sized bet.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 17:20
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    – xDaizu
    Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 7:48
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is asking for the antonym of a word which he has made up his own definition for.
    – AndyT
    Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 8:48
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    It's possibly tainted as business jargon, but the pair of words downside (similar to risk) and upside (the antonym) are widely used and understood.
    – nigel222
    Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 10:38

10 Answers 10


Based on your premise, the word I believe you're looking for is "opportunity".

Opportunity: lucky chance; favorable circumstances. Dictionary.com: Opportunity

However, for most writing involving games of chance, it is usually referred to as risk vs reward. Where reward is the opposite of risk.

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    beat me to it by a hair. Darn that formatting. Do you have a source for your definitions?
    – Yeshe
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 17:14
  • Yep, updated with link.
    – bhilgert
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 17:18
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    In a business sense, Risk/Reward is generally used as well.
    – Thomo
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 4:18
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    @Thomo The components of this word pair are chosen deliberately; the negative one ("risk") describes a mere possibility while the positive one describes a fact ("reward"). This pair is superior to similar word pairs like "risk" / "opportunity" because of its psychological impact on the recipient (i. e. senders from the business world with their typical incentives will rather choose the first to manipulate the recipient slightly by this into investing more). In case you want to manipulate someone into stepping down from an option, a word pair like "loss" / "opportunity" would be more suitable.
    – Alfe
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 9:10
  • @Alfe - yep, I'm well aware of that
    – Thomo
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 22:16

If we are looking for a statistical term to mirror "risks" I think "opportunities" would be appropriate. As being opportune.

Opportunity- A time or set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something

Opportune- especially convenient or appropriate for a particular action or event. Done or occurring at a favourable time; well timed.


"Potential" or "Potential upside" (or maybe even "upside" itself) - i.e. "Risk is you could lose everything - upside it that it could pay-out well!"


I would say "chance"

In your example, one might say "take a risk"

With my word, one might say, "take a chance"

  • but I would like to use them in the same sentence: such as both ways have their risks and Xs.
    – mehmet
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 17:06
  • In that case, I would say "both ways have their gains and losses"
    – KEsvJbxJKt
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 17:08
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    in that case they would be certain, which I don't want to mean.
    – mehmet
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 17:10



  1. the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best: to give up hope.


  1. grounds for this feeling in a particular instance: There is little or no hope of his recovery.




You go to a casino and bet a bunch of money. At the end of the evening you figure out that for every dollar you bet, you won, on average, 30 cents. Your expectation is 0.3

  • The problem with this is that expectation can be positive or negative, and the word implies nothing about whether the connotation of either is good or bad. The OP on the other hand is talking in terms of "winning" or "losing", and wants a word for the former, whilst incorrectly thinking that risk is a word for the latter.
    – JBentley
    Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 14:54
  • Also just on a technical note, expectation in your example doesn't refer to the actual winnings taken in a particular sample. It refers to the average winnings that would be expected based on the probabilities of each event.
    – JBentley
    Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 14:56
  • @JBentley - Only when expectation is greater than 1.0 is it "good". And if expectation is over 1.0 for any particular gambler for any length of time then the guys in suits will probably come and escort him out. Either that or haul the pit boss away.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 22:32
  • On the contrary, the word "expectation" carries no information about "good" or "bad", which was my point. In your example of a casino, a positive expectation is "good" for the gambler and "bad" for the casino. The OP specifically wants a word which carries the "good" connotation.
    – JBentley
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 7:38
  • @JBentley - But the problem is that there is no "good" in gambling. There is "lucky", where you beat the odds in a specific case, but sooner or later the odds catch up with you. The expectation, in any real case of commercial gambling, is never greater than 1.0.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 11:22

Odds. (I think that the best answer for a straightforward question is the shortest one. Stack Exchange disagrees. )


See shot, defined by Merriam Webster as

attempt, chance, an opportunity to do something

The good thing about shot is that it has positive can-do connotations, as in I've got a shot at winning the prize. See take a shot.


Potential Benefit

Given that your example of a 'word' was actually 3 words.

  • :: no it was not; risk => 1 word, chances of losing=>a 3-word definition
    – mehmet
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 13:43

What to say instead of the "chances of winning":

"Odds of winning" is a phrase often used for lottery tickets. Chances are the number of tickets you purchase; each is an opportunity to play the lottery. The odds are the number of tickets sold divided by the number of potential winners. Source: see any lottery ticket or card or advertisement, and they will use this phrase.

But if the original question is actually this, "what is the opposite of financial risk?" that phrase would be either financial reward or financial security, depending on the purchase, investment, or trade being considered. Source: investment media speak of risk vs. reward


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