jeop·​ar·​dize | \ ˈje-pər-ˌdīz \
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

Denmark this month began erecting a 70-kilometer (43.4-mile) fence along the German border to keep out wild boars in an attempt to prevent the spread of African swine fever, which could jeopardize the country’s valuable pork industry. Alice Fung, The Seattle Times, "In year of the pig, Hong Kong has had enough of wild ones," 6 Feb. 2019 The shift to the center came in response to widespread calls from international civil society groups and Colombian opinion leaders that changes to peace deal terms could jeopardize the pact altogether. Chris Kraul,, "Right-wing former senator wins Colombia's presidential election, beating left-wing former guerrilla," 18 June 2018 Strange and Richardson are worried that financial and academic problems jeopardize Montgomery Public Schools' accreditation. Mike Cason,, "Ed Richardson says Montgomery schools to lose 200 teachers," 11 Apr. 2018 In the Sun interview, Trump berated May for her Brexit strategy, warned that her plan could jeopardize any trade deal between their two countries and touted Johnson, her political rival who resigned as British foreign secretary earlier this week. Seung Min Kim, Washington Post, "After disparaging his hosts, Trump meets with Theresa May," 13 July 2018 Unknown to some sellers who try to sell on their own, contingencies such as inspections or appraisals can jeopardize any deal if not handled right. Desiree Lira, miamiherald, "Buying a home is not like purchasing a plane ticket, and selling a property is not like selling a car," 25 June 2018 But if the primary season proved anything, its that Democrats can still turn on one another even and jeopardize their chances in November. Jeremy Wallace, Houston Chronicle, "Trump fuels anger, enthusiasm at Texas Democratic Convention," 20 June 2018 The federal government opposed the release of the entire database, arguing doing so could jeopardize ongoing investigations and expose confidential information about companies that did nothing wrong. Andrew J. Tobias,, "Attorney General Jeff Sessions says feds will take action in Cleveland opioid lawsuits," 27 Feb. 2018 And right now, as visitors clink crystal glasses in swanky tasting rooms, the behind-the-scenes brawl is messier than ever, perhaps even jeopardizing the valley’s acclaimed sense of community. Mike Dunne, sacbee, "Divisive referendum seeks to limit vineyard growth in storied Napa Valley | The Sacramento Bee," 23 May 2018

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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Statistics for jeopardize

Last Updated

10 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

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The first known use of jeopardize was in 1582

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More Definitions for jeopardize



English Language Learners Definition of jeopardize

: to put (something or someone) in danger


jeop·​ar·​dize | \ ˈje-pər-ˌdīz \
jeopardized; jeopardizing

Kids Definition of jeopardize

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

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Comments on jeopardize

What made you want to look up jeopardize? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express emotion in a dramatic way

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