jeopardy

noun
jeop·​ar·​dy | \ ˈje-pər-dē How to pronounce jeopardy (audio) \

Definition of jeopardy

1 : exposure to or imminence of death, loss, or injury : danger placing their lives in jeopardy workers in jeopardy of losing their jobs
2 law : the danger that an accused person is subjected to when on trial for a criminal offense

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Did You Know?

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.

Examples of jeopardy in a Sentence

the city's firefighters routinely put their lives in jeopardy by executing daring rescues

Recent Examples on the Web

The first clue that Compute Cards were in jeopardy came from NexDock, which developed a modular laptop shell, the NexDock 1, that was powered by your phone. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel kills the Compute Card, a small-form-factor modular computing product that didn't stick," 22 Mar. 2019 The result of their abject mediocrity is something that seemed impossible not long ago: LeBron James and the Lakers are in serious jeopardy of missing the NBA playoffs. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "Buy Low on LeBron James and the Lakers," 15 Feb. 2019 Among those accompanying the president was Kelly, who earlier in the week appeared in serious jeopardy of losing his job. Philip Rucker, Washington Post, "For the weary White House, Florida shooting offered a ‘reprieve’ from scandals," 19 Feb. 2018 Saint Mary’s 72, Gonzaga 70 USC at No. 13 Arizona Saturday, 10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN The Trojans are in serious jeopardy of missing the NCAA tournament, despite what looks like a strong case when considering the cosmetic numbers. Michael Beller, SI.com, "Picks: No. 3 Purdue vs. No. 4 Michigan State Leads Weekend of Intriguing Matchups," 9 Feb. 2018 The head of the TUC, an umbrella organization for labor unions, put the blame squarely at May’s door, saying her refusal to rule out that Britain would not leave the EU without a deal on trade relations has put thousands of jobs in jeopardy. Danica Kirka, The Seattle Times, "Honda to shut plant in Brexit-shaken Britain," 20 Feb. 2019 Those in jeopardy include Harry’s and William’s limelight-loving cousins the Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie (eighth and ninth in line, respectively). David Mcclure, Town & Country, "How Queen Elizabeth's Fortune Is Divided Among the Members of the Royal Family," 16 Feb. 2019 Surgery could have put his season in jeopardy, but Garza was back in the starting lineup by opening night in early November. Luke Meredith, The Seattle Times, "Sophomore Luka Garza on a tear for surging Hawkeyes," 5 Feb. 2019 Vilma has been told she’s in jeopardy of losing her parental rights. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "Penn Badgley Is Teaming Up With the Tahirih Justice Center to Help Vilma Carrillo, an Immigrant Mom Separated From Her Daughter," 21 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'jeopardy.' 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 jeopardy

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for jeopardy

Middle English jeopardie, from Anglo-French juparti, jeuparti alternative, literally, divided game

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Last Updated

8 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for jeopardy

The first known use of jeopardy was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for jeopardy

jeopardy

noun
jeop·​ar·​dy | \ ˈje-pər-dē How to pronounce jeopardy (audio) \

Kids Definition of jeopardy

: danger sense 1 The wrong choice could put your future in jeopardy.

jeopardy

noun
jeop·​ar·​dy | \ ˈje-pər-dē How to pronounce jeopardy (audio) \

Legal Definition of jeopardy

1 : exposure to or imminence of death, loss, or injury
2 : the danger of conviction that an accused person is subjected to when on trial for a criminal offense — see also double jeopardy

Note: Jeopardy attaches, or comes into effect for double jeopardy purposes, when a jury is sworn in or, in a non-jury trial, when the judge begins to hear evidence. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbids double jeopardy for the same offense, and this applies whether the first trial ends in acquittal, conviction, or a mistrial. If a mistrial occurs due to a manifest necessity or if a defendant appeals a conviction, however, the rule against double jeopardy does not apply. The issue of manifest necessity is determined by the trial judge and, if necessary, by an appeals court.

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More from Merriam-Webster on jeopardy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for jeopardy

Spanish Central: Translation of jeopardy

Nglish: Translation of jeopardy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jeopardy for Arabic Speakers

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