- a row of bushes or small trees planted close together, especially when forming a fence or boundary; hedgerow: small fields separated by hedges.
- any barrier or boundary: a hedge of stones.
- 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.
- to enclose with or separate by a hedge: to hedge a garden.
- 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.
- 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.
- to mitigate a possible loss by counterbalancing (one's bets, investments, etc.).
- to prevent or hinder free movement; obstruct: to be hedged by poverty.
- 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.
- to prevent complete loss of a bet by betting an additional amount or amounts against the original bet.
- Finance. to enter transactions that will protect against loss through a compensatory price movement.
Origin of hedge
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for hedging
The plaque honoring “la Nueve” speaks to how memory is often overlaid by the hedging of history.Who Liberated Paris in August 1944?
August 24, 2014
Netanyahu has been eager to take credit for Iran's hedging of its stockpiles.What Obama Said About Iran
March 22, 2013
Karl Rove says Romney has the edge in the overall vote on Election Day and in his hedging way seemed to predict a Romney triumph.Mitt Romney’s Delusions of Victory
November 3, 2012
The entire phylum of what they do is called “hedging risk,” not diving into it.Jack Hitt Examines Why Amateurs Are the Job Creators
June 9, 2012
The death of an uncle and a hedging competition are processed and recounted in due course.The Duchess Tells All
November 25, 2010
He was hedging because he thought he had gone too far, but she appeared not to notice it.Crooked Trails and Straight
William MacLeod Raine
I might have hedged on my own stock, but I don't believe in hedging.The Three Partners
But as for that, signore, if you have no axes nor hedging knives, we have them.Corleone
F. Marion Crawford
This gloom, hedging him on every side, troubled him with a vague fear.The Kindred of the Wild
Charles G. D. Roberts
Some men were engaged in hedging, when they had to cut down some old trees.Finger-Ring Lore
- a row of shrubs, bushes, or trees forming a boundary to a field, garden, etc
- a barrier or protection against something
- the act or a method of reducing the risk of financial loss on an investment, bet, etc
- a cautious or evasive statement
- (modifier; often in combination) low, inferior, or illiteratea hedge lawyer
- (tr) to enclose or separate with or as if with a hedge
- (intr) to make or maintain a hedge, as by cutting and laying
- (tr; often foll by in, about, or around) to hinder, obstruct, or restrict
- (intr) to evade decision or action, esp by making noncommittal statements
- (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
- (intr) to protect against financial loss through future price fluctuations, as by investing in futures
Word Origin and History for hedging
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.
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.
The practice by which a business or investor limits risk by taking positions that tend to offset each other. For example, a business stands to lose money if the price of a commodity it holds declines, but it can offset this risk by agreeing to sell a specified amount of the commodity at a set price at some point in the future.