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What is a Daredevil?

A daredevil embodies the spirit of audacity, often performing breathtaking stunts that defy danger and fear. These thrill-seekers push the limits of human capability, captivating us with their courage and skill. Their acts inspire awe and raise questions about the boundaries of adventure. What drives these individuals to such extremes? Join us as we explore the daredevil's world. What might we uncover?
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A daredevil is someone who is bold to the point of being reckless. Daredevils often pursue risky endeavors or feats which require both bravery and strong self confidence for success. The term “daredevil” is used also to refer to professionals like the late Evil Knievel, who performed daring stunts for a living. Some people also refer to professional stunt performers who work in film and television as daredevils, although this usage is of debatable accuracy.

In the sense of someone who is just recklessly bold, a daredevil can be someone who routinely engages in dangerous acts, or someone who pursues dangerous hobbies or careers. Many people think of people who are interested in extreme sports are daredevils, for example, since sports such as hang gliding require a certain amount of confidence. Parents may also use the term to refer to children who do dangerous things like climbing high trees.

A tightrope walker can be considered a daredevil.
A tightrope walker can be considered a daredevil.

In the sense of a professional stunt person, a daredevil receives special training in performing dangerous tasks safety. In films, stunt people crash cars, stage fight scenes, and engage in other tasks that require training to be safe. A stunt person is chosen primarily on the basis of his or her abilities, and most films try to use stunt people with at least a superficial resemblance to the actors that they are standing in for. In some cases, a daredevil might have to suffer for the sake of the film; in the James Bond film Goldfinger, for example, stuntmen had to wear blonde wigs for a scene in which they were standing in for an all-female crew of pilots.

A daredevil engages in dangerous acts, like base jumping.
A daredevil engages in dangerous acts, like base jumping.

Although some people may refer to stunt people as daredevils, most stunt performers are far from reckless. They perform daring feats in very controlled environments, and they take a number of steps to ensure that the stunt will be safe. A stunt team on a film might rehearse a scene numerous times without volatile elements like explosives or moving vehicles until everyone is confident that the scene can be safely performed. Stunt doubles also stand in on more mundane scenes, not just for the dramatic and dangerous bits of a film or television show.

A daredevil may pursue dangerous hobbies, like cave diving.
A daredevil may pursue dangerous hobbies, like cave diving.

More commonly, a professional daredevil performs standalone stunts for their dramatic value. He or she usually has an organized performance in which a handful of challenging tasks are displayed for the public. Daredevils may broadcast their shows on television or sell tickets for monetary gain. Making a career as a daredevil is tough and dangerous work; it requires self promotion skills as well as stunt training.

Frequently Asked Questions

What defines a daredevil in terms of behavior and activities?

Daredevil activities require a high level of confidence.
Daredevil activities require a high level of confidence.

A daredevil is typically characterized by a penchant for engaging in extreme and risky activities that often involve a high potential for danger. These individuals seek the adrenaline rush that comes from pushing the boundaries of fear and physical limitations. Activities commonly associated with daredevils include skydiving, bungee jumping, base jumping, and extreme motorsports. Their actions are driven by a desire for thrill and adventure, often at the expense of personal safety.

How does the psychology of a daredevil differ from that of an average person?

Being a daredevil requires bravery.
Being a daredevil requires bravery.

The psychology of a daredevil is marked by a higher tolerance for risk and a strong desire for intense experiences. According to studies on sensation-seeking behavior, such individuals may have different biochemical responses to adrenaline and dopamine, leading to a greater enjoyment of thrilling situations. They often exhibit traits of impulsivity, confidence, and a need for novelty, which sets them apart from more risk-averse individuals. This psychological profile can influence their decision-making and lifestyle choices.

Are there any historical figures who were known for being daredevils?

History is replete with figures who could be considered daredevils. One iconic example is Evel Knievel, an American stunt performer renowned for his death-defying motorcycle jumps in the 1960s and 1970s. Another historical daredevil is Harry Houdini, famous for his sensational escape acts and stunts that often placed him in perilous situations. These individuals not only sought the thrill of danger but also captivated the public's imagination with their audacious feats.

What impact do daredevils have on popular culture and media?

Daredevils have a significant impact on popular culture and media, often becoming symbols of fearlessness and the human spirit's capacity to overcome challenges. Their stunts and stories inspire movies, books, and television shows, capturing audiences with their blend of suspense and spectacle. The portrayal of daredevils in media can also influence fashion, language, and attitudes towards risk-taking, sometimes glamorizing dangerous behaviors and encouraging others to emulate their daring exploits.

Is there a way to safely engage in daredevil activities?

Engaging in daredevil activities can be done more safely with proper training, equipment, and adherence to safety protocols. Organizations that facilitate extreme sports often employ experienced professionals and enforce strict guidelines to minimize risks. For instance, skydiving centers require jumpers to use certified gear and often mandate a certain number of tandem jumps before allowing solo dives. By taking calculated risks and respecting the inherent dangers, individuals can experience the thrill of daredevilry with a reduced chance of injury.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a PublicPeople researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a PublicPeople researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments

Mykol

I think there is a difference between those daredevils who train for their feats and those who do something randomly without much thought or training.

Either way, I see them as a risk taker, but one would certainly be more reckless than the other.

When I think of a daredevil, I think of Evel Knievel who performed all those motorcycle jumps. Most people would never dream of attempting what he did, but he also put hours and hours of training and practice in.

I remember reading somewhere that he was in the Guinness Book of World Records for the person who broke the most bones in their body.

I also find it interesting that he was never killed from attempting one of his jumps.

SarahSon

Last year when we went to our state fair, we watched some kids doing some extreme motor sports. I would say these were definitely daredevils.

I didn't even know who they were and I found myself getting nervous for them. I have never been much of a risk taker, especially when it comes to physical stunts like that.

I imagine there are more people who get hurt than you hear about. I have always wondered what makes some people more interested in doing these stunts than others.

At some point, they must either lose interest, get too old or get injured. There doesn't seem to be a lack of new interested young people to take their place though.

golf07

My son has always been somewhat of a daredevil and it scares me to death. When he was growing up I never knew what kind of stunt he was going to try and pull.

Thankfully, he was never seriously injured. Because he never got hurt, he just kept trying more things though. It is probably a good thing I didn't know about everything he was doing or I would have really been worried.

He is an adult now, but is currently involved in car racing on the weekends. I go to the races to watch him, but I am on the edge of my seat the whole time. I always breathe a big sigh of relief when another race is over and he is OK.

ysmina

@simrin-- Daredevil is a pretty old word, it's been around since at least the 1800s.

I'm not sure what the original users meant but it could mean either of two things. "Devil" might actually refer to the person. You know how they call little kids who are mischievous "little devils." So the person might be called a devil who is daring. Or it could be like you said, as in someone who dares the devil.

I think both make sense in terms of meaning. Recklessness and mischievousness can go together. And daring is very straightforward.

fify

There was a film out named "Daredevil" several years ago. It was about a superhero who helps and saves innocents at nighttime. He also has an enemy who is trying to kill him but instead of staying away, he picks up a fight with his enemy in his domain. I guess this character fits the bill for a daredevil.

And if I remember correctly, the movie was based on a previous comic books and a novel called Daredevil: The Man Without Fear. Superheroes are definitely the ultimate daredevils. They put themselves at risk for others. But you don't have to be a superhero to be a daredevil. Firemen risk their lives to save people too for example.

SteamLouis

I also don't think that professional stunt people are daredevils. Just as the article described, what they do is staged, practiced and safe. It might require courage, but it also requires discipline and it's not at all reckless. Maybe in the olden days when stunt men weren't as protected in film settings, they were more of daredevils.

By the way, where does the name daredevil come from? I've always wondered this. To me it sounds like someone who dares the devil. And to do that is no small thing, it's risky and dangerous. I think that makes sense but I'm not sure that's what people meant when they first started using this word. Anyone know?

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    • A tightrope walker can be considered a daredevil.
      By: lassedesignen
      A tightrope walker can be considered a daredevil.
    • A daredevil engages in dangerous acts, like base jumping.
      By: Xof711
      A daredevil engages in dangerous acts, like base jumping.
    • A daredevil may pursue dangerous hobbies, like cave diving.
      By: Richard Carey
      A daredevil may pursue dangerous hobbies, like cave diving.
    • Daredevil activities require a high level of confidence.
      By: James Steidl
      Daredevil activities require a high level of confidence.
    • Being a daredevil requires bravery.
      By: Dudarev Mikhail
      Being a daredevil requires bravery.