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 Spokesman Jack Dunn says the Catholic university chooses not to participate in the PILOT program so as not to jeopardize its tax-exempt status., "You're using a browser set to private or incognito mode.," 12 Sep. 2019 The decision seemed to jeopardize both the fate of the virtual system and, in theory, Iowa’s claim to the nation’s earliest nominating contest. Eren Orbey, The New Yorker, "A Virtual Threat to Iowa’s First-in-the-Nation Caucuses," 30 Aug. 2019 The removal would prevent ALDOT from being able to apply for federal money on the $2.1 billion project, and could jeopardize the current financing for the project that includes tolls. Mike Cason |, al, "Byrne says he’s seeking consensus on Mobile bridge with no tolls," 26 Aug. 2019 Consumers abandon hundreds of thousands of prescriptions each year at the pharmacy, often because of high prices, jeopardizing their health and often leading to higher costs down the road, studies show. Kaiser Health News,, "Here’s how you can lower your prescription costs, with your doctor’s help," 13 July 2019 But the concept also was met with strong opposition from residents worried that the project would jeopardize their safety and property values. Leila Atassi,, "How Ohio City residents fought for one property to serve the greater good - and won," 16 Sep. 2019 One federal official, who asked not to be identified out of fear that criticizing the military would jeopardize his safety, said that soldiers were merely barricading themselves inside super camps. Dionne Searcey, New York Times, "Boko Haram Is Back. With Better Drones.," 13 Sep. 2019 Lawyers said this prolonged waiting could seriously jeopardize people’s immigration cases. San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego’s immigration court postpones already-scheduled cases to make room for Remain in Mexico hearings," 22 Aug. 2019 But many university officials worry that an overly aggressive attempt to protect U.S. research could jeopardize the types of international collaborations that have helped the country become a scientific superpower. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "U.S. universities battle a security storm in Congress," 29 July 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

Statistics for jeopardize

Last Updated

3 Nov 2019

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


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.

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 calculated move

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice with tweedle dee and tweedle dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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!