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

transitive verb

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

Did you know?

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 didn't arrive until the late 16th century.) 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 The series of setbacks for the nascent U.S. offshore wind industry jeopardizes the clean energy goals. Jennifer McDermott, Fortune, 7 Dec. 2023 In recent weeks, talks between the different bodies of the E.U. — the European Commission, which proposes laws, and the European Council and European Parliament, which adopt them — have become plagued by divisions that have jeopardized an act years in the making. Cristiano Lima, Washington Post, 6 Dec. 2023 Happening this Tuesday: Immigration talks collapse, jeopardizing aid to Israel and Ukraine… President Biden travels to Massachusetts for a trio of Boston-area fundraisers… Doug Burgum suspends his presidential campaign… And GOP debate stage for Wednesday night shrinks to four candidates. Bridget Bowman, NBC News, 5 Dec. 2023 The White House warned congressional leaders on Monday that the United States would run out of money to send weapons to Ukraine by year’s end, severely jeopardizing Kyiv’s ability to defend itself against Russia if lawmakers fail to approve emergency military aid soon. Lara Jakes, New York Times, 4 Dec. 2023 Following news of his arrest, the actor was dropped from various movie projects and brand deals, jeopardizing his rising film career. Emily Palmer, Peoplemag, 4 Dec. 2023 Moreover, industries on Mars may jeopardize scientific goals. Kirsi Lehto, Scientific American, 1 Dec. 2023 Copper prices hit their highest level since Sep. 1 Wednesday morning after a Panama court ruling jeopardized the future of one of the world's largest mines. Bob Henderson, WSJ, 29 Nov. 2023 Without changing anything, the industry itself will be in danger: increasing water shortage may jeopardize its activities and the energy cost explosions further erode its low profit margins. IEEE Spectrum, 28 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'jeopardize.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see jeopardy

First Known Use

1582, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of jeopardize was in 1582


Dictionary Entries Near jeopardize

Cite this Entry

“Jeopardize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


jeop·​ar·​dize ˈjep-ər-ˌdīz How to pronounce jeopardize (audio)
jeopardized; jeopardizing
: to expose to danger

More from Merriam-Webster on jeopardize

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