jeop·​ar·​dize | \ ˈje-pər-ˌdīz How to pronounce jeopardize (audio) \
jeopardized; jeopardizing

Definition of jeopardize

transitive verb

: to expose to danger or risk : imperil a decision that could jeopardize her career laws jeopardizing freedom of speech

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Jeopardize Has a Controversial History

It may be hard to believe that jeopardize was once controversial, but in 1870 a grammarian called it "a foolish and intolerable word," a view shared by many 19th-century critics. The preferred word was jeopard, which first appeared in print in the 14th century. (The upstart jeopardize turned up in 1582.) In 1828, Noah Webster himself declared jeopardize to be "a modern word, used by respectable writers in America, but synonymous with 'jeopard,' and therefore useless." Unfortunately for the champions of jeopard, jeopardize is now much more popular.

Examples of jeopardize in a Sentence

His health has been jeopardized by poor nutrition. don't do anything that will jeopardize your place on the advisory board
Recent Examples on the Web When told lifting the protections would jeopardize Alaska’s wildlife and affect hunting and fishing in the state, that opposition grew to 54%, according to the survey. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "'There's literally no downside': Reagan-founded PAC pushes Trump to preserve Alaska's Tongass Forest," 28 June 2020 The companies said that could jeopardize their businesses, possibly forcing them to shut down service in California or raise prices dramatically. Anna Buchmann,, "Bay Briefing: How will new coronavirus surge affect California’s reopening?," 25 June 2020 In a recent interview with Politico, the president expressed concern that mail-in voting could jeopardize his chances of re-election. Musadiq Bidar, CBS News, "New Democratic ad ties voter suppression to white supremacy in America," 22 June 2020 Further extensions would jeopardize the safety of navigation. Kitack Lim, WSJ, "Seafarers Need Recognition and Support from Governments: IMO Chief," 22 June 2020 In Massachusetts, dismantling OPT would jeopardize a fundamental part of the state's economy, which has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, said Andrew Tarsy, co-founder of the Massachusetts Business Immigration Coalition. Philip Marcelo, The Christian Science Monitor, "Will visa restrictions last? Foreign workers, students hope not.," 17 June 2020 President Donald Trump’s responses could jeopardize their chances of holding the chamber. Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, azcentral, "Sen. Martha McSally physically returning to the campaign trail in Arizona Senate race," 11 June 2020 While players want to extend the postseason deep into November, teams fear a second wave of the coronavirus would jeopardize the postseason. Ronald Blum,, "MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred says ‘100%’ chance of 2020 MLB season, new proposal soon," 10 June 2020 The way police in many cities have responded to the recent protests — including clashes in which officers may have violated protesters' civil rights — threatens to jeopardize the limited progress on reforms made over the past several years. NBC News, "George Floyd's death has sparked protests across the country. Here are the latest updates.," 5 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'jeopardize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of jeopardize

1582, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for jeopardize

see jeopardy

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Time Traveler for jeopardize

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The first known use of jeopardize was in 1582

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Statistics for jeopardize

Last Updated

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Jeopardize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for jeopardize


How to pronounce jeopardize (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of jeopardize

: to put (something or someone) in danger


jeop·​ar·​dize | \ ˈje-pər-ˌdīz How to pronounce jeopardize (audio) \
jeopardized; jeopardizing

Kids Definition of jeopardize

: to put in danger A poor diet can jeopardize your health.

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