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

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 But some health conditions can jeopardize a woman’s health in the long term but not necessarily constitute an immediate threat to her life. New York Times, 26 Nov. 2021 In fact, this is the only legitimate way to do so because paying for links can jeopardize your ranking if Google catches on and levies a penalty against you. Amine Rahal, Forbes, 2 Nov. 2021 The long delay in reauthorizing this law will result in funding shortfalls that jeopardize its ability to protect women. Fortune, 13 Oct. 2021 Asking faculty to participate in practices that can jeopardize collective well-being is untenable in a moral as well as public health sense. Ruth Ben-ghiat, CNN, 3 Sep. 2021 Lamminen also has elderly onset rheumatoid arthritis, which can jeopardize the immune system. Washington Post, 19 Aug. 2021 Medical professionals say that transfers can often jeopardize the health of patients, especially those facing extreme circumstances. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 23 June 2021 Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn't want to jeopardize his popularity by banning the gathering, said Chunhuei Chi, professor of international health at Oregon State University and director of its Center for Global Health. Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY, 28 Apr. 2021 Yet proposals in the reconciliation package will jeopardize the development of these less-expensive drugs, harming Americans rather than helping them. Dan Leonard, STAT, 10 Nov. 2021

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

7 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Jeopardize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce jeopardize (audio) \
jeopardized; jeopardizing

Kids Definition of jeopardize

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

More from Merriam-Webster on jeopardize

Nglish: Translation of jeopardize for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jeopardize for Arabic Speakers


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