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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Failing to meet these deadlines could jeopardize the city’s state funding, but Howell has not been informed of any lost monies. Anna Rose Macarthur, Anchorage Daily News, "Bethel water testing shows lead and copper levels exceeding federal standards," 8 Aug. 2019 If squabbling among members of the Arctic Five does not jeopardize orderly resolution of seafloor claims, two other wild cards could. Mark Fischetti, Scientific American, "Nations Claim Large Overlapping Sections of Arctic Seafloor," 23 July 2019 As in past years, such scrutiny faces an onslaught of criticism from the insurance industry, which argues the CMS audits especially are technically unsound and unfair and could jeopardize medical services for seniors. Kaiser Health News,, "Medicare knows about $30 billion in overbilling but refunds prove elusive," 20 July 2019 That could also jeopardize the programs the taxes are intended to fund by providing volatile revenue streams that, like desert arroyos, flood or run dry depending on the business climate. Gregory Barber, WIRED, "No More Deals: San Francisco Considers Raising Taxes on Tech," 16 July 2019 The girl’s face is not visible on the video to protect her privacy and not jeopardize her immigration case. Garance Burke, Twin Cities, "Migrant girl tells MN lawyer of poor care in Texas border station," 1 July 2019 The girl’s face is not visible on the video to protect her privacy and not jeopardize her immigration case. Denise Lavoie, Time, "12-Year-Old Girl Describes Squalid Conditions, Lock Up Punishments at Texas Border Patrol Station," 1 July 2019 Don’t jeopardize your status, position or reputation. Eugenia Last, The Mercury News, "Horoscopes: June 21, 2019," 21 June 2019 But amid concern for his family—and to not jeopardize the documentary that was being shot at the time—the show was canceled. Tripti Lahiri, Quartzy, "Why China’s “artful dissident” Badiucao decided to reveal his face," 9 June 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of jeopardize

1582, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for jeopardize

see jeopardy

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about jeopardize

Listen to Our Podcast about jeopardize

Dictionary Entries near jeopardize








Statistics for jeopardize

Last Updated

11 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for jeopardize

The first known use of jeopardize was in 1582

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a period when something is suspended

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!