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 Police departments would be required to release these files unless a judge rules the release would jeopardize an ongoing investigation or cause harm, which would include jeopardizing the privacy of victims. Tyler Arnold, Washington Examiner, "FOIA council subcommittee advances bill to expand transparency on criminal files," 18 Nov. 2020 Critics warn that these revisions could lead to the resurrection of a hard border across Ireland and jeopardize the Good Friday Agreement, which ended years of sectarian violence. Mark Landler, New York Times, "Trump’s Defeat Weakens Boris Johnson in Urgent Brexit Talks," 9 Nov. 2020 Neils Cotter, Carmel’s vice president for development, said new rent restrictions would jeopardize the project’s financing. Los Angeles Times, "How one South L.A. neighborhood got a new luxury tower — and rents starting at $3,100," 28 Oct. 2020 The contest is critical for Democrats because a Kilbride loss could jeopardize the party’s 4-3 majority on the state’s high court. Ray Long,, "Madigan pours in $550,000 to help Democratic Illinois Supreme Court justice’s bid to stay on the bench," 20 Oct. 2020 For those demanding headlines, the dominant one is that Biden did nothing to jeopardize his lead and Trump did nothing to expand his base. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "The Whiplash of Watching Two Town Halls From Different Planets," 15 Oct. 2020 The rise in remote work during the pandemic could boost women’s participation but at the same time may jeopardize promotion and pay prospects, said Wells Fargo & Co. senior economist Sarah House. Olivia Rockeman,, "The First Female Recession Threatens to Wipe Out Decades of Progress for U.S. Women," 30 Sep. 2020 Under the preliminary agreement in the U.S., TikTok’s algorithm won’t change hands, but Chinese media have criticized the outlines of the deal, and Beijing could still object, which would jeopardize the deal’s projects for completion. Georgia Wells, WSJ, "TikTok’s Fate Coming to a Head," 26 Sep. 2020 Casey said the next high court justice will likely be the deciding vote on whether the Affordable Care Act is overturned, which would jeopardize many people's protections for pre-existing conditions. David Crary, Star Tribune, "In battleground states, Catholics are a pivotal swing vote," 22 Sep. 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

Time Traveler

The first known use of jeopardize was in 1582

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Last Updated

24 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Jeopardize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 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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Comments on jeopardize

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