Definition of Russian roulette in US English:

Russian roulette


  • 1The practice of loading a bullet into one chamber of a revolver, spinning the cylinder, and then pulling the trigger while pointing the gun at one's own head.

    • ‘The first condition excludes Russian roulette; the second eliminates math, chess, spelling, and bridge; the third and fourth conditions, alas, rule out urinating for distance.’
    • ‘The charismatic magician, most famous for staging a game of Russian roulette on live television last year, was originally trained as a lawyer, before starting his performing career in cafes and bars.’
    • ‘He was a third string r&b singer who blew his brains out playing Russian roulette when Paul was about 12 years old.’
    • ‘They try to stay on Mel's good side and avoid him during his homicidal depressions, during which he favors games of Russian roulette.’
    • ‘The 6ft 8in former lock was capped 20 times by France in the early Seventies and played in a ferocious Beziers pack, who lost one of their number when he killed himself in a game of Russian roulette.’
    • ‘That's why he agreed when a friend suggested a game of Russian roulette.’
    • ‘Indeed, I have learned that he is so confident of his mind-reading skills that he plans to perform Russian roulette live on television.’
    • ‘Millions of viewers will this week tune in to watch a man playing Russian roulette on live television.’
    • ‘To take comfort in this pattern, however, is like trying to find reassurance in an extended game of Russian roulette: sooner or later the odds will turn against you.’
    • ‘After he survived a game of Russian roulette while home alone that day, he sought help and was admitted to the intensive care unit at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.’
    • ‘A routine call to a domestic argument ended with a police constable staring down the barrel of a loaded gun in a deadly game of Russian roulette.’
    • ‘Guys do play games with guns and a particular army favourite with the SA80 is to pretend to load the breech with a single bullet, remove the magazine and dare a colleague in Russian roulette.’
    • ‘They don't call it Russian roulette for nothing you know.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, not playing ball on trade agreements is like playing Russian roulette with a bullet in every chamber.’
    • ‘According to the script, fellow singer Johnny, who shot himself in a game of Russian roulette while she looked on, was the love of her life.’
    • ‘This is the nautical equivalent of playing Russian roulette with three chambers loaded.’
    • ‘And ‘when playing Russian roulette, the fact that the first shot got off safely is little comfort for the next’.’
    • ‘She had played drinking games, Russian roulette, and had even been involved in a massive orgy.’
    • ‘His appointment to the national game would be the biggest gamble since he played Russian roulette on television.’
    • ‘Doctors will argue it's a game of Russian roulette and the next one may be the bullet, or that some people simply have good genes that will eventually catch up with them.’
    1. 1.1 An activity that is potentially very dangerous.
      ‘we can't afford to play Russian Roulette with our existing antibiotics’
      • ‘It is vital that schoolchildren are shown that glue sniffing is not just an innocent pastime, but a game of Russian roulette.’
      • ‘In trying to subdue Afghanistan, the Soviets may well be playing a game of Russian roulette.’
      • ‘Maybe we are gambling with our ecosystem in a game of Russian roulette that will lead to environmental Armageddon.’
      • ‘Pandering to the seniors is something of a political game of Russian roulette: Yes, they vote in high numbers.’
      • ‘You're playing Russian roulette with Mother Nature if you do.’


Russian roulette

/ˈˌrəSHən ro͞oˈlet//ˈˌrəʃən ruˈlɛt/