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[lej] /lɛdʒ/
a relatively narrow, projecting part, as a horizontal, shelflike projection on a wall or a raised edge on a tray.
a more or less flat shelf of rock protruding from a cliff or slope.
a reef, ridge, or line of rocks in the sea or other body of water.
  1. a layer or mass of rock underground.
  2. a lode or vein.
Carpentry. a member similar to but larger than a cleat.
Shipbuilding. a minor transverse deck beam running between regular deck beams to form part of a coaming.
verb (used with object), ledged, ledging.
to assemble (a door or the like) with ledges.
Origin of ledge
1300-50; Middle English legge, perhaps derivative of leggen to lay1; compare Middle High German legge layer, edge, Old English lecg part of a weapon
Related forms
ledgeless, adjective
unledged, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for ledge
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The guillemot makes no nest, merely laying a single egg on a ledge.

  • I cried out, and in a foolish effort to save him, I must have let go of the ledge to which I clung.

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
  • The man who lay on the ledge of the grating was even chilled.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • I said: "Is that a ledge out in the field where sumachs and birches are growing?"

  • The Major's folded arms dropped off the ledge, as if they had been suddenly paralyzed.

    Henry Dunbar M. E. Braddon
British Dictionary definitions for ledge


a narrow horizontal surface resembling a shelf and projecting from a wall, window, etc
a layer of rock that contains an ore; vein
a ridge of rock that lies beneath the surface of the sea
a narrow shelflike rock projection on a cliff or mountain
Derived Forms
ledgy, ledged, adjective
Word Origin
C14 legge, perhaps from leggen to lay1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ledge

late 13c., "crossbar on a door," perhaps from Middle English verb leggen "to place, lay" (see lay (v.)). Sense of "narrow shelf" is first recorded 1550s; "shelf-like projection of rock" is from 1550s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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