jeop·​ar·​dize | \ˈje-pər-ˌdīz \
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

Wash has jeopardized everything to reunite with Titch, and a powerful confrontation about their shared history seems promised—and then isn’t delivered. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: When Nowhere Felt Like Home," 20 Sep. 2018 Just days before guest judge Martina McBride pressed the golden buzzer and sent the couple to the live shows, the duo reveals to that Quin suffered a serious foot injury that threatened to jeopardize everything. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'America's Got Talent' Dancers Quin and Misha Had a Crazy Accident Before Their Second Audition," 1 Aug. 2018 The comment prompted widespread confusion on the Hill and jeopardized Republicans' plans for votes on both bills next week. CBS News, "White House says Trump supports "moderate" GOP immigration bill after confusion," 16 June 2018 The move risks jeopardizing state funds and has caught the eye of a New Orleans City Council already wary of the troubled utility. Beau Evans,, "Sewerage & Water Board poised to seek risky audit extension," 5 June 2018 The administration is literally claiming, for legal purposes, that our nation’s safety is jeopardized by steel from Canada, Mexico and the European Union. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Toothless trade resolution demonstrates Congress’s unwillingness to check Trump," 12 July 2018 That work is being jeopardized by new leadership at the federal level. Molly Harbarger,, "Multnomah County sues Trump administration over change to abstinence-only sex ed funding," 8 June 2018 If all of the new city money does not come through, district officials said an accelerated plan to fix the district’s aging, and in spots environmentally problematic, buildings would be jeopardized., "SRC adopts $3.2B Philly school budget - with question marks," 24 May 2018 The retailers added an economic argument to the campaign to protect Bears Ears: Outdoor recreation contributes more than $12 billion annually to the Utah economy, spending that could be jeopardized if public lands are developed. Author: David Gelles, Anchorage Daily News, "Patagonia v. Trump: Inside a battle over public lands," 6 May 2018

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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Statistics for jeopardize

Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for jeopardize

The first known use of jeopardize was in 1582

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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 \
jeopardized; jeopardizing

Kids Definition of jeopardize

: to put in danger A poor diet can jeopardize your health.

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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).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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