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Meaning of “Put In Jeopardy” phrase of Idiom, definition and synonyms use in sentence.

Put In Jeopardy

Day by day his life he gan ieoparte

To fore their walles for to preve his mighte.

—LYDGATE Cbron of Tray 

The modern sense of the word “jeopardy,” whether substantive or verbal, means: to be in extreme danger of loss ; as though one might say that the Great War put civilization in great jeopardy.

Strange as it may appear, the words “joke” and “jeopardy” are closely related, though most persons would say that to be in jeopardy is no joke at all. The Latin “jocus” means “jest”; and the Italian “gioco,” from the same root, means a game ; hence, in a pack of cards there is a “joker” in the form of a “jester” ; for, to play a joke is to “play a game” on someone. `jocus” came into French as “jeu, ‘ and when any “jeuP (game) was played, in which the chances for each side were uncertain, neither having an advantage over the other, it was called in Medixyal Latin “focus partibus,” and in Old French: “iu- (later “jeu”) parti,” meaning a divided game, or, as we might say to-day “even play.” The Middle English form of this word was “iupartie,” later to become “ieupardye” and “iopardie.” “It has been suggested,” says Murray, “that the English change of `parti’ to `pardy’ was partly influenced by its association with the French verb `perdre,’ to lose”; but apparently the connection is merely phonetic.

Nevertheless, “loss” does enter into the word “jeopardy,” as in any game; and this came about through the fact that in chess “jeopardy” once signified a problem, or point in the score ; hence, any unwary move meant a point lost, with the possibility of peril looming before the player, who was thus placed “in jeopardy.”

Dr. Johnson, in 1755, declared the word “jeopardy” to be “obsolete.” It is interesting to know that it fell into desuetude after the middle of the 17th century. There is no record of its use (says Murray) for nearly two centuries after 1654. Its revival in the earlier half of the 19th century caused one writer to say that it “indicates rather a spirit of research than good taste.”


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