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

The administration is literally claiming, for legal purposes, that our nation’s safety is jeopardized by steel from Canada, Mexico and the European Union. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Toothless trade resolution demonstrates Congress’s unwillingness to check Trump," 12 July 2018 That work is being jeopardized by new leadership at the federal level. Molly Harbarger,, "Multnomah County sues Trump administration over change to abstinence-only sex ed funding," 8 June 2018 If all of the new city money does not come through, district officials said an accelerated plan to fix the district’s aging, and in spots environmentally problematic, buildings would be jeopardized., "SRC adopts $3.2B Philly school budget - with question marks," 24 May 2018 The retailers added an economic argument to the campaign to protect Bears Ears: Outdoor recreation contributes more than $12 billion annually to the Utah economy, spending that could be jeopardized if public lands are developed. Author: David Gelles, Anchorage Daily News, "Patagonia v. Trump: Inside a battle over public lands," 6 May 2018 What’s more, even that modest increase is jeopardized by the absence of a sustainable funding source. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Arizona Passes New Education Funding to End Teachers’ Strike," 3 May 2018 Cohen argues that his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination may be jeopardized if the proceedings weren't delayed. NBC News, "Judge delays Stormy Daniels' lawsuit against Trump during investigation of Cohen," 27 Apr. 2018 The depth keeps it in the interest of the franchise to keep Tucker under contractual control for as long as possible, which would be jeopardized if he were called up before June. Hunter Atkins, Houston Chronicle, "Grand slam by Astros prospect Kyle Tucker raises excitement but not chances of making roster," 27 Mar. 2018 Disciplinary action resulting from responsible engagement in non-violent protest will not jeopardize admission to Cornell. Victoria Rodriguez, Seventeen, "These Colleges Won’t Punish Students Who Get in Trouble for Protesting Gun Violence," 28 Feb. 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

3 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for jeopardize

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 clear from alleged fault or guilt

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