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 Young’s nomination was advanced through two Senate committees, but the latest comments could jeopardize her confirmation with more centrist Democrats and Republicans who initially supported her. Andrew Mark Miller, Washington Examiner, "Biden deputy budget director pick: Taxpayer-funded abortions necessary for 'racial justice'," 12 Mar. 2021 Each person voyaging off-world is accompanied by up to 100 trillion bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms, any number of which could jeopardize human health. Shannon Hall, Scientific American, "NASA Will Map Every Living Thing on the International Space Station," 11 Mar. 2021 Companies simply cannot jeopardize that progress, or undermine the capabilities of their own women executives, by allowing certain stereotypes about women CEOs to perpetuate. Michael Peregrine, Forbes, "The ‘Glass Cliff’ Challenge For Corporate Governance," 28 Feb. 2021 Such losses jeopardize food security for over 3 billion people and the livelihoods of small-scale fishermen. Popular Science, "Post-pandemic seafood could be more sustainable. Here’s how tech is driving the change.," 23 Feb. 2021 The order also asks the Labor Department to clarify that workers can refuse jobs that could jeopardize their health during the pandemic and still maintain unemployment benefits. Josh Boak,, "A closer look at Biden’s two executive orders on economic relief," 22 Jan. 2021 Students who actively practice actions that jeopardize public health should have no complaints about schools staying virtual., "Letters: Waiting to open schools in Howard County until it’s safe is the right thing to do | READER COMMENTARY," 9 Dec. 2020 In terms of plot interest, there’s the question of whether Jerome will swallow his integrity to placate Miranda or call her out on her oppressive behavior and jeopardize his big break. Los Angeles Times, "Review: In ‘The Gaze ... No Homo,’ a Black and queer actor navigates the white theater world," 6 Mar. 2021 In both cases, the department warned that hiring only black people would violate anti-discrimination laws and would jeopardize federal contracts. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "Labor Department warns firms bragging of hiring only black people that it’s ‘discriminatory’," 7 Oct. 2020

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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Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Jeopardize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 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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