Putting Someone in Jeopardy

A listener, Carles, had the following question: “I’d like to know the meaning of the word “jeopardy”. I’ve heard this word in some television shows about police and crime investigation. I think this word means “to put something or somebody in danger” but in what context can I use it? Can I use this word in everyday speech or only as police jargon?”

Carles is right that “to put someone/something in jeopardy” means to put someone or something in danger.  It is often used in TV shows and movies because people are often “in jeopardy” or in danger.  We can say:
– “The baby’s parents put her in jeopardy when they left her alone for hours.”
– “Testifying (giving evidence in a legal case) about major criminals in court sometimes put witnesses (people who saw, heard, or know something) in jeopardy.”

In court or on TV shows about the law, you may also hear the term “double jeopardy.”  Double refers to two things that are the same or very similar.  Double jeopardy occurs when the court system tries to prosecute (put on trial) the same person twice for the same crime.  This is not legal in the United States.  For example, if I am arrested (officially taken by the police for committing (doing) a crime) and go to court and I am found not guilty (not having committed the crime), then I cannot later be arrested again and brought to court for the same crime, even if the police has more or better evidence against me.  This is why I am still free and why  the police tries to make sure they have enough evidence to convict (to have a person found guilty) before they arrest someone for a crime.

Although “jeopardy” is used a lot by the police and in talking about the law, we can also use it in daily life.  Because it is associated (connected) with the law and the police, we use it more for official or formal situations, but not always.  Here are some examples of how it can be used:
– “If you don’t stop drinking (alcohol) at work, you’re in jeopardy of losing your job.”
– “We’re in jeopardy of losing our house if we don’t pay our monthly payments on time.”
– “The teacher left dangerous equipment for the students to play on, putting the children’s safety in jeopardy.”

There is also a long-running (been showing for a long time) TV show called “Jeopardy!”, which was first shown on American television in 1964. It’s a quiz show, where contestants (players) answer questions about history, literature, the arts, popular culture, sports, and more, competing to win money.  The questions are often very difficult and only people who know a lot about these topics do well.  I hope one day to see our own Dr. Jeff McQuillan on the show, since he’s one of the smartest people I know.  He would no doubt do well and win a lot of money.  Maybe he’d share.

Thanks, Carles, for your question and I hope this helps.

~ Lucy

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7 Responses to Putting Someone in Jeopardy

  1. emiliano says:

    It helps a lot, thank you very much Lucy and Carles.
    Quite a very good question.

    I would like to be in the TV show “Jeopardy” with Dr. Jeff McQuillian as it would be a way of
    knowing him.
    Well, with you too, Lucy….our mistery “Fairy Teacher”, but I know this would a more difficult chance.

  2. emiliano says:

    Where is the verb?……..
    “this would be a more….” sorry.

    I have missed it, just because I was so nerves thinking on the posibility of beeing with our Dr. Lucy Tse
    at the “Jeopardy” TV. show …
    But it was, what year? 1964?

    Lucy wasn´t born that year and I was too young.
    Is there any TV. “Jeopardy” show just now?
    Please, inform me.

    Thank you Carles, from Catalonia? I think so.

  3. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    From Brazil my comments for the ESLPOD about jeopardy in the today episode, 08/17/2010. I don’t ever get tired of saying that Dr. Jeff and Dr. Lucy were born to make people learn more and more English language, for those who plug in to their episodes. I have been experiencing a lot of improvements in reading and listening their lessons everyday. The meanings of the words, the spellings, the explanations, everything is properly sent to the screen in a way of good voices, understandable speed, and all of the best. You two get my admiration and the prayers for God to keep you two in Earth for long time.

  4. Alan Brasil says:

    My middle brother, Charles, just sent me this amazing nook on the internet for those who are willing to learn English or enhance what they´ve accomplished so far in a natural, effective and guffaw way!
    And that is you, people from the ubiquitous Eslpod! As I´d say (after learning it on my old senior year days in Seattle, WA): ¨Way to go!¨ I guess I´ll become an assiduous reader and will be flickering back and forth throughout your pages non-stop from now on!
    By the way, I come from a two-hundred-year-old town surrounded by hills and their flaberggasting features called Mateus Leme, which belongs to the diamond state of Minas Gerais, Brasil (with ´s´)!
    My warmest regards, Alan Salomâo.

  5. Julio says:

    I put myself in jeopardy every time I take part in ESL Blog to post a message, because I almost always find out later some mistakes in it. I also jeopardize myself each time I must speak in public, or even doing the easiest thing because it can fail. But, How would the life be without any risk or jeopardy?
    Maybe very boring.
    Best regards from Spain,

  6. Talal says:

    Hi everybody, I agree with Julio about the value of being in jeopardy, well . in the long run, it may have positive results, who know ?? and besides , life is so short (I am not a philosopher) and all of this will be just memories in the near future, once again , life is too short , life is too short, life is too short,the point is that it doesn’t deserve our attention to shallow fears and precautions anyway , I know I may sound like a priest or something, but really guys.. take it easy … well in response to the jeopardy TV show , I would love to be with either Dr Jeff or Dr. lucy but the last one seems a little far fetched as emiliano pointed out.

  7. kuongdv says:

    Life is long enough for anyone who lives well like Dr. Jeff and Dr. Lucy!
    Don’t put anyone in jeopardt but yourself!

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