Definition of jeopardy
- placing their lives in jeopardy
- workers in jeopardy of losing their jobs
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the city's firefighters routinely put their lives in jeopardy by executing daring rescues
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Centuries ago, the Old French term jeu parti didn't mean "danger" but rather "an alternative" or, literally, "a divided game." That French expression was used for anything that represented an alternative viewpoint or gave two opposing viewpoints. "Jeu parti" passed into Anglo-French as juparti, and from there it was borrowed into Middle English and respelled "jeopardie." At first, the English word was used to refer to the risks associated with alternative moves in the game of chess. Soon, however, the term came to be used more generally in the "risk" or "danger" sense that it has today.
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
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