See more synonyms for hedge on Thesaurus.com
  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.

Origin of hedge

before 900; Middle English, Old English hegge; cognate with Dutch heg, German Hecke hedge, Old Norse heggr bird cherry
Related formshedge·less, adjectiveun·hedge, verb (used with object), un·hedged, un·hedg·ing.un·hedged, adjectivewell-hedged, adjective

Synonyms for hedge

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hedge

Contemporary Examples of hedge

Historical Examples of hedge

  • A thrush sat in the hedge, and she was singing her morning song.

  • Whose cow is that at the top of the ditch, half through my hedge?

  • They heard only a crashing of boughs, the parting of the hedge.

    The Avenger

    E. Phillips Oppenheim

  • She looked at him for a few moments, and then she threw the sally rod into the hedge.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • When the horn was sounded, he merely drew into the hedge and did not look round.

    People of Position

    Stanley Portal Hyatt

British Dictionary definitions for hedge


  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
Derived Formshedger, nounhedging, nounhedgy, adjective

Word Origin for hedge

Old English hecg; related to Old High German heckia, Middle Dutch hegge; see haw 1
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

Word Origin and History for hedge

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper