jeop·​ar·​dize ˈje-pər-ˌdīz How to pronounce jeopardize (audio)
jeopardized; jeopardizing

transitive verb

: to expose to danger or risk : imperil
a decision that could jeopardize her career
laws jeopardizing freedom of speech

Did you know?

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 didn't arrive until the late 16th century.) 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 Justice Department allows such sessions so as not to jeopardize the integrity of an investigation that is still underway. Jacqueline Alemany and Devlin Barrett, Anchorage Daily News, 12 Sep. 2023 The shorter handle was easy to move around while cooking without jeopardizing the balance. L.a. Hubilla, Peoplemag, 10 Sep. 2023 This account is based on interviews with more than a dozen people close to the Biden family who declined to speak on the record out of concern about jeopardizing their relationships with the Bidens, along with writings from Biden family members. Katie Rogers, New York Times, 10 Sep. 2023 Wily developers buy one descendant’s share, which effectively jeopardizes the entire property and allows it to be auctioned off. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 8 Sep. 2023 The daughter did not wish to be named and declined comment on Thursday, citing concerns over jeopardizing the criminal case. David Gambino The Decatur Daily, al, 8 Sep. 2023 The United States, for example, has often been less willing to publicize or publicly engage on questions about UFOs — even going so far to spread misinformation in the 1950s — for fear of ceding a strategic advantage to adversaries and jeopardizing national security. Terrence McCoy, Washington Post, 6 Sep. 2023 Executives worry that six more weeks of strikes could obliterate the entire television season and jeopardize next summer’s movie releases. Meg James, Los Angeles Times, 5 Sep. 2023 The crew faces a challenging choice when an unplanned passenger jeopardizes everyone on the ship. Starr Savoy, ELLE, 28 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'jeopardize.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see jeopardy

First Known Use

1582, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of jeopardize was in 1582


Dictionary Entries Near jeopardize

Cite this Entry

“Jeopardize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


jeop·​ar·​dize ˈjep-ər-ˌdīz How to pronounce jeopardize (audio)
jeopardized; jeopardizing
: to expose to danger

More from Merriam-Webster on jeopardize

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