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

Besides creating to a mix of emotions and diminishing his chances to qualify for the 10-race playoffs, Jones’ inconsistency and the rise of 24-year-old Christopher Bell could jeopardize his spot with Gibbs’ four-man team. Edgar Thompson,, "Erik Jones looks to defend Coke Zero Sugar 400 win, ignite frustrating season," 5 July 2019 Because the management firms and tours 1. don’t need the hassle of crisis management and 2. don’t want to jeopardize endorsements and commercial interests with a few intemperate remarks. Jon Wertheim,, "Mailbag: The Downside of Media Training for Young Players," 26 June 2019 Most agents don't want to jeopardize the money their artists have already been paid by announcing plans to perform elsewhere during the festival, so many are just waiting in a holding pattern. Dave Brooks, Billboard, "Woodstock 50 Organizers Haven't Contacted Artists to Discuss New Site (or Anything Else)," 26 June 2019 But their love is jeopardized by the arrival of the pompous rock superstar Stacee Jaxx, and the threatened demolition of the Bourbon Room. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Rock and comedy make for a glam-metal duet as Cygnet Theatre gets set to stage ‘Ages’," 25 June 2019 The lack of bilingual workers also has jeopardized other investigations. Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, "For generations, Illinois’ child welfare agency has failed to adequately serve Spanish-speaking families with children in its care.," 20 June 2019 In Texas, the commission said the company's arrival in Houston has jeopardized the integrity of ongoing criminal cases, although the board did not cite any that had been derailed because of ANDE. Dallas News, "Texas says DNA technology jeopardizes cases," 20 June 2019 Because no one wants to jeopardize the mead supply. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Stardock and Star Control creators settle lawsuits—with mead and honey," 11 June 2019 The prosecutors also said voiding the plea deal might jeopardize the restitution money that Epstein paid them under its terms. Curt Anderson,, "Once-secret Jeffrey Epstein sex offender deal must stand, feds say," 26 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

14 Jul 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).


to complain fretfully

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!