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

Disciplinary action resulting from responsible engagement in non-violent protest will not jeopardize admission to Cornell. Victoria Rodriguez, Seventeen, "These Colleges Won’t Punish Students Who Get in Trouble for Protesting Gun Violence," 28 Feb. 2018 Some analysts say bringing up Libya, which dismantled its rudimentary nuclear program in the 2000s in exchange for sanctions relief, jeopardizes progress in negotiations with the North. The Christian Science Monitor, "On cue, North Korea threatens to cancel Kim-Trump summit," 16 May 2018 The move jeopardizes plans to verify the national emission cuts agreed to in the Paris climate accords, says Kelly Sims Gallagher, director of Tufts University's Center for International Environment and Resource Policy in Medford, Massachusetts. Paul Voosen, Science | AAAS, "Trump White House quietly cancels NASA research verifying greenhouse gas cuts," 9 May 2018 More pressing for the teachers unions, the ruling jeopardizes a funding stream that has made them political heavyweights for decades. Erica L. Green,, "Teachers unions hustle to ensure their survival after Janus decision," 14 July 2018 The election of a president who had been, among other things, caught on tape making gleefully misogynistic remarks inspired a credible panic in some women and others who feared their civil rights might soon be further jeopardized. Margaret Lyons, New York Times, "‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2 Is Brutal and Not Much Else," 11 July 2018 Coastal development and boat activity jeopardize their health, too. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Hawaii is banning sunscreens that kill coral reefs," 2 July 2018 The integrity of the stock markets are jeopardized when greedy individuals who are entrusted with nonpublic information use the knowledge for their benefit. Derek Hawkins, Washington Post, "The Cybersecurity 202: Why California could be the bellwether for the privacy movement," 29 June 2018 Given his political baggage, a Grimm victory would have jeopardized the seat in this fall’s general election. Steve Peoples, Time, "Primaries Expose Division Among Democrats, While Republicans Unite Behind President Trump's Picks," 27 June 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

20 Oct 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).


a state of commotion or excitement

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