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Venture is defined as a risky undertaking. But in the following sentence:

"Lin averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists in 35 games (25 starts) for the Knicks last season. His aim is to improve his statistics every year, but he wouldn't venture to guess how good they could get."

why is the word "venture" used? What does it mean to say that a person who is guessing something is taking a risk?

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    @Stephie it says "put forward, of a guess, in spite of possible refutation", "put at risk" and "proceed somewhere despite the risk of possible dangers". So does it mean "he wouldn't possibly imagine how good they could get" (because there're so many possibilities)?
    – Sam Ye
    Feb 28, 2015 at 14:21
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    "Risk a guess..." that is "dare to guess". He did not want to speculate or guess. Feb 28, 2015 at 14:42
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    @Fum, Cat, MAR, Room, pyo: The OP did consult a dictionary, provided the definition, (basic in the OP then more detailed in a subsequent comment), and needed help resolving that definition information in context. It was therefore not "entirely answerable with a dictionary", and reasonably so. Many English learners would be understandably puzzled at how making a prediction about sports performance is "putting oneself at risk"; and "dangerous". Furthermore, it appears that TRomano and StoneyB successfully ... well, answered an ELL's English question. Mar 1, 2015 at 8:00
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    The Policy cited in the reason given for closing contains the following well-endorsed guidance: "....if the entirety of a question is [']what does this word mean['] then I think these questions are off-topic, as the OP should just look the word up themselves.... Now if they look the word up, still don't understand, and post a question explaining this and asking for clarification, that's something else." I submit that the instant question is clearly "something else". Mar 1, 2015 at 8:08
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    AND: "...[A ] question should be closed if A.) it can be easily answered by a non-native speaker by looking up a word in a dictionary and B.) the question does not indicate that more information is required about the definition as given in the dictionary (as in, ['I don't understand the definition!']. This is quite obviously what has happened here. If this question should be closed, the reason given does not apply. Mar 1, 2015 at 8:10

1 Answer 1

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As TRomano and StoneyB suggest in their comments, the writer suggests that Lin is not sure enough about being correct to take a guess, and the risk of guessing incorrectly is that of being wrong.

This kind of usage commonly emphasizes that a person does not have the knowledge to make a confident guess, not that there is a practical risk.

There is a similar expression: for someone to hazard a guess. The main dictionary definition of to hazard is to do something dangerous, but to hazard a guess means:

(take a guess); to guess. Even if you don't know, please take a guess. If you don't know the answer, hazard a guess.

The Free Dictionary

Similarly to the venture example, hazard in this expression does not generally mean a practical or serious danger.

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