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 This treacherous policy terrain had been undermining presidencies for decades, Biden argued, and Obama shouldn’t jeopardize his time in office so soon. Washington Post, "A blow-by-blow history of the Obamacare wars," 30 Apr. 2021 Governor vetoes bill nullifying federal gun restrictions Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday vetoed legislation that would prohibit local police from enforcing federal gun laws, saying the measure would jeopardize law enforcement and the public. Arkansas Online, "April 23, 2021: This week in Arkansas news," 23 Apr. 2021 Under new Biden administration rules, there are circumstances under which people could refuse to work and stay on unemployment, like if working would jeopardize their health., "In R.I., you don’t have to look for work to stay on unemployment. That could soon change.," 21 Apr. 2021 Sacramento: Lawmakers on Monday revived a multibillion-dollar tax break for some businesses after the Biden administration assured them the proposal would not jeopardize the state’s own federal coronavirus aid. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Coronavirus pinatas, cathartic effigy, immigration limbo: News from around our 50 states," 21 Apr. 2021 Commissioners can vote to waive the board policy, although doing so repeatedly could jeopardize the agency’s credit rating, said Port Commissioner Dan Malcolm, who represents Imperial Beach on the seven-member board. Jennifer Van Grove, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Port of San Diego has ‘blown right through’ years of savings," 14 Apr. 2021 But public health experts fear the debate could jeopardize the larger goal of the U.S. ultimately achieving herd immunity, which scientists estimate will be reached when 70 percent to 85 percent of the population has Covid-19 antibodies. NBC News, "'Vaccine passport' debate could fuel GOP hesitancy, Baylor wins NCAA and can-cel culture in Georgia," 6 Apr. 2021 The additional delay could again boost costs and jeopardize the state’s funding plan to complete a partial operating system between Bakersfield and Merced by 2030. Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times, "Bullet train contractor warns of further two-year delay as state struggles to secure land," 29 Mar. 2021 There are concerns, though, that proposed legislation will jeopardize IndyGo’s plans to expand its rapid bus transit program and impact IPS’ ability to efficiently move more students to IndyGo. Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star, "IPS cuts transportation services for 2,500 students as it looks to close $18 million gap," 26 Mar. 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

Time Traveler

The first known use of jeopardize was in 1582

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Statistics for jeopardize

Last Updated

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Jeopardize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 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.

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Comments on jeopardize

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