jeopardy

noun
jeop·​ar·​dy | \ ˈje-pər-dē \

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

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 And now Thursday's scheduled hearings—which were to feature testimony by Kavanaugh and his first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford—may be in jeopardy of being canceled. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "A Second Sexual Misconduct Allegation and a Possible Delay—The Latest in Brett Kavanaugh's Nomination," 24 Sep. 2018 The plots often center around family homes and businesses in jeopardy. Lourdes Avila Uribe, Glamour, "What You Can Expect to See in Every Single Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie," 24 Dec. 2018 That’s one lost job for Hill already, and another potentially in jeopardy. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "Milo Yiannopoulos’s collapse shows that no-platforming can work," 5 Dec. 2018 But at this fraught political moment for Big Tech, buying an asset like Discord could put the owner’s brand in jeopardy. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Black Friday is the busiest time of year for professional line sitters," 21 Nov. 2018 Six children are dead, and there is no inquiry into how they were placed in jeopardy or why they were left there. Joe Heim And Julie Tate, chicagotribune.com, "As children begged for help, adoption system failed them," 13 July 2018 Six children are dead, and there is no inquiry into how they were placed in jeopardy or why they were left there. Washington Post, "Abuse, neglect and a system that failed: The tragic lives of the Hart children," 12 July 2018 Six children are dead, and there is no inquiry into how they were placed in jeopardy or why they were left there. Joe Heim And Julie Tate, Houston Chronicle, "As Hart children begged for help, system failed them," 12 July 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

14 Jan 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 \

Kids Definition of jeopardy

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

jeopardy

noun
jeop·​ar·​dy | \ ˈje-pər-dē \

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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