1. a row of bushes or small trees planted close together, especially when forming a fence or boundary; hedgerow: small fields separated by hedges.
  2. any barrier or boundary: a hedge of stones.
  3. an act or means of preventing complete loss of a bet, an argument, an investment, or the like, with a partially counterbalancing or qualifying one.

verb (used with object), hedged, hedg·ing.

  1. to enclose with or separate by a hedge: to hedge a garden.
  2. to surround and confine as if with a hedge; restrict (often followed by in, about, etc.): He felt hedged in by the rules of language.
  3. to protect with qualifications that allow for unstated contingencies or for withdrawal from commitment: He hedged his program against attack and then presented it to the board.
  4. to mitigate a possible loss by counterbalancing (one’s bets, investments, etc.).
  5. to prevent or hinder free movement; obstruct: to be hedged by poverty.

verb (used without object), hedged, hedg·ing.

  1. to avoid a rigid commitment by qualifying or modifying a position so as to permit withdrawal: He felt that he was speaking too boldly and began to hedge before they could contradict him.
  2. to prevent complete loss of a bet by betting an additional amount or amounts against the original bet.
  3. Finance. to enter transactions that will protect against loss through a compensatory price movement.


  1. a row of shrubs, bushes, or trees forming a boundary to a field, garden, etc
  2. a barrier or protection against something
  3. the act or a method of reducing the risk of financial loss on an investment, bet, etc
  4. a cautious or evasive statement
  5. (modifier; often in combination) low, inferior, or illiteratea hedge lawyer


  1. (tr) to enclose or separate with or as if with a hedge
  2. (intr) to make or maintain a hedge, as by cutting and laying
  3. (tr; often foll by in, about, or around) to hinder, obstruct, or restrict
  4. (intr) to evade decision or action, esp by making noncommittal statements
  5. (tr) to guard against the risk of loss in (a bet, the paying out of a win, etc), esp by laying bets with other bookmakers
  6. (intr) to protect against financial loss through future price fluctuations, as by investing in futures

Old English hecg, originally any fence, living or artificial, from West Germanic *khagja (cf. Middle Dutch hegge, Dutch heg, Old High German hegga, German Hecke “hedge”), from PIE *kagh- “to catch, seize; wickerwork, fence” (cf. Latin caulae “a sheepfold, enclosure,” Gaulish caio “circumvallation,” Welsh cae “fence, hedge”). Related to Old English haga “enclosure, hedge” (see haw). Figurative sense of “boundary, barrier” is from mid-14c. Prefixed to any word, it “notes something mean, vile, of the lowest class” [Johnson], from contemptuous attributive sense of “plying one’s trade under a hedge” (hedge-priest, hedge-lawyer, hedge-wench, etc.), a usage attested from 1530s.


late 14c., “make a hedge,” also “surround with a barricade or palisade;” from hedge (n.). The sense of “dodge, evade” is first recorded 1590s. That of “insure oneself against loss,” as in a bet, by playing something on the other side is from 1670s, originally with in; probably from an earlier use of hedge in meaning “secure (a debt) by including it in a larger one which has better security” (1610s). Related: Hedged; hedging. The noun in the wagering sense is from 1736.

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