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See also: Hedge


A maze of hedges.


  • enPR: hĕj, IPA(key): /hɛdʒ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛdʒ

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English hegge, from Old English heċġ, from Proto-West Germanic *haggju, from Proto-Indo-European *kagʰyóm. Cognate with Dutch heg, German Hecke. Doublet of quay. More at haw.


hedge (plural hedges)

  1. A thicket of bushes or other shrubbery, especially one planted as a fence between two portions of land, or to separate the parts of a garden.
    He trims the hedge once a week.
    • 1879, R[ichard] J[efferies], chapter 1, in The Amateur Poacher, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., [], OCLC 752825175:
      But then I had the [massive] flintlock by me for protection. ¶ [] The linen-press and a chest on the top of it formed, however, a very good gun-carriage; and, thus mounted, aim could be taken out of the window [], and a 'bead' could be drawn upon Molly, the dairymaid, kissing the fogger behind the hedge, little dreaming that the deadly tube was levelled at them.
  2. A barrier (often consisting of a line of persons or objects) to protect someone or something from harm.
    • 1611, King James Version, Job 1:9–10:
      Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
  3. (Britain, West Country, chiefly Devon and Cornwall) A mound of earth, stone- or turf-faced, often topped with bushes, used as a fence between any two portions of land.
  4. (pragmatics) A non-committal or intentionally ambiguous statement.
    Coordinate term: weasel word
  5. (finance) Contract or arrangement reducing one's exposure to risk (for example the risk of price movements or interest rate movements).
    The asset class acts as a hedge.
    A hedge is an investment position intended to offset potential losses/gains that may be incurred by a companion investment. In simple language, a hedge is used to reduce any substantial losses/gains suffered by an individual or an organization.
  6. (Britain, Ireland, noun adjunct) Used attributively, with figurative indication of a person's upbringing, or professional activities, taking place by the side of the road; third-rate.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English heggen, from the noun (see above).


hedge (third-person singular simple present hedges, present participle hedging, simple past and past participle hedged)

  1. (transitive) To enclose with a hedge or hedges.
    to hedge a field or garden
  2. (transitive) To obstruct or surround.
    • 1769, King James Bible, Hosea 2.6
      Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.
    • 1670, John Milton, The History of Britain
      Lollius Urbius [] drew another wall [] to hedge out incursions from the north.
  3. (transitive, finance) To offset the risk associated with.
  4. (transitive, intransitive) To avoid verbal commitment.
    He carefully hedged his statements with weasel words.
  5. (intransitive) To construct or repair a hedge.
  6. (intransitive, finance) To reduce one's exposure to risk.
Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]


Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of hegge