hedge

1 of 3

noun

1
a
: a fence or boundary formed by a dense row of shrubs or low trees
b
: barrier, limit
pikemen … present a hedge of metal points from which any cavalry would flinchTom Wintringham
regarded it as the main function of their existence to raise a hedge around the lawF. W. Farrar
2
: a means of protection or defense (as against financial loss)
realization that common stocks are the best hedge against inflationC. E. Merrill
3
: a calculatedly noncommittal or evasive statement
bureaucratic literature … festooned with hedges and qualificationsFortune

hedge

2 of 3

verb

hedged; hedging

transitive verb

1
: to enclose or protect with or as if with a dense row of shrubs or low trees : to enclose or protect with or as if with a hedge (see hedge entry 1 sense 1a) : encircle
homes hedged with boxwoods
2
: to confine so as to prevent freedom of movement or action : to obstruct with or as if with a barrier : hinder
hedged about by special regulations and statutesSandi Rosenbloom
3
: to protect oneself from losing or failing by a counterbalancing action
hedge a bet

intransitive verb

1
: to plant, form, or trim a hedge
2
: to evade the risk of commitment especially by leaving open a way of retreat : trim
hedged on the issue
3
: to protect oneself financially
usually used with against
in order to hedge against inflationGeorge Katona
: such as
a
: to buy or sell commodity futures (see future entry 2 sense 3) as a protection against loss due to price fluctuation
b
: to minimize the risk of a bet
hedger noun
hedgingly adverb

hedge

3 of 3

adjective

1
: of, relating to, or designed for a hedge (see hedge entry 1)
a hedge plant
hedge selling on the commodity exchanges
2
: born, living, or made alongside or as if alongside a dense row of shrubs or low trees : born, living, or made near or as if near hedges (see hedge entry 1 sense 1a) : roadside
the services of a hedge parson
a hedge wedding
3
: inferior sense 1
a hedge tavern

Examples of hedge in a Sentence

Noun the messenger was confronted with a hedge of spears held aloft by the castle guards Verb The garden is hedged by flowering shrubs. She hedged when she was asked to support the campaign. He hedged his earlier comments about the need for new management.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Exercise comes in for many of the same hedges and caveats. Markham Heid, TIME, 9 Feb. 2024 Plant winter jasmine as a ground cover on slopes, to disguise walls and fences, or to create a hedge border. Katelyn Chef, Southern Living, 9 Feb. 2024 Ray Dalio, the billionaire hedge funder from Connecticut, says the tipping point will be when the U.S. government has to borrow money to pay the interest on its debt. Neal B. Freeman, National Review, 3 Jan. 2024 She was informed that her hedge was encroaching on the sidewalk and that trees needed to be trimmed. Cathy Locke, Sacramento Bee, 31 Jan. 2024 Secluded atop a high knoll on a dead-end street in the Studio City hills, the very private home is additionally cloaked from public view behind high gates, towering walls and overgrown hedges. James McClain, Robb Report, 25 Jan. 2024 There was a winding garden with fountains and geometric hedges meant to evoke the Alhambra in Spain. Nicholas Casey, New York Times, 15 Dec. 2023 Also now clients of Iconiq are folks outside tech’s inner circle—billionaire hedge funders David Bonderman, Henry Kravis, and Tiger Global Management’s Chase Coleman, all of whom have nabbed seats on the company’s board of directors. James McClain, Robb Report, 6 Dec. 2023 Courtyard areas around the side and rear of the residence include a several terraces and a secluded spa set into a brick terrace tightly girdled by tall hedges for celebrity-style privacy. James McClain, Robb Report, 16 Dec. 2023
Verb
To hedge your bets, include terms from one to five years. Jeanne Sahadi, CNN, 31 Jan. 2024 The novel had none of the ambivalence that hedges so many discussions about Israel today, even the friendly ones. Judith Shulevitz, The Atlantic, 30 Jan. 2024 Even those who hold down a standard job are increasingly hedging their bets and often freelancing on the side, as the number of workers with multiple jobs hit a record recently. Irina Ivanova, Fortune, 24 Jan. 2024 The last few years have already revealed the extent to which regional powers such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been willing to defy the United States on its most critical issues: hedging on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, keeping oil prices high, building stronger relations with China. Marc Lynch, Foreign Affairs, 14 Oct. 2023 Still, Al-Aly and other experts say taking preventive steps, such as getting vaccinated and wearing a mask in higher-risk situations, can hedge your bets. Julie Appleby, CBS News, 8 Jan. 2024 The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in March has been blamed on its ESG policies rather than its failure to hedge interest rate risk or diversify its depositor base. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 27 Dec. 2023 Bayonet fighting amid the cactus hedges the metal tangled with the sand’s imperfect memory. Ishion Hutchinson, The New York Review of Books, 12 Oct. 2023 Stanford employed a similar strategy as UC Irvine against SDSU’s dribble hand-offs across the perimeter by hard hedging them – effectively clogging the flow and bringing the offense to a virtual standstill. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Dec. 2023
Adjective
The Musketeers even tried to hard-hedge Georgetown's ball screens to slow Spears down. Adam Baum, The Enquirer, 21 Jan. 2023 Unlike internet sites that are popular with the general public, hedge funds and institutions receive option data differently. Jonathan Stone, Forbes, 20 Dec. 2022 Research mazes were once modeled after elaborate paths like the one at Hampton Court, a stately hedge maze in the United Kingdom commissioned in 1700. Cody Cottier, Discover Magazine, 10 May 2018 The Facebook post also contained photos of items associated with Brad including a bottle of perfume, gloves, what appeared to be hedge clippers, a syringe, and a container with a plastic baggy containing unknown contents. Andrew Mark Miller, Fox News, 3 Dec. 2022 The meteoric rise comes amid an ongoing bear market that has left most hedge funds in a bad spot. Will Daniel, Fortune, 6 July 2022 Goldman Sachs analysts recently said that mutual and hedge funds are conservatively positioned. Gunjan Banerji, WSJ, 13 Sep. 2022 Now two years after his death, his parents, Angel Jaquez, 71, and Janis Jaquez, 61, reminisced about their son in a sit-down interview with The Courant in their backyard surrounded by flowerpots and a hedge fence. Mike Mavredakis, Hartford Courant, 18 July 2022 Resembles a hedge trimmer':A man visiting Florida wanted to catch a shark. Brian Broom, USA TODAY, 13 Apr. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hedge.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English hegge, heyg "fence formed by a row of shrubs, bush, underbrush," going back to Old English *hecg "fence formed by shrubs, boundary fence," attested in dative hegge, hecge (also Old English hecge, weak feminine noun, in same sense), going back to Germanic *hagjō (whence also Middle Dutch hegghe "hedge," Old High German hegga "palisade," Middle High German hegge, hecke "hedge"), derivative of a base *hag- "enclosure formed by shrubs" — more at haw entry 1

Verb

Middle English heggen, hedgyn "to make a hedge, fence in with a hedge," derivative of hegge, heyg hedge entry 1

Adjective

from attributive use of hedge entry 1

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hedge was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near hedge

Cite this Entry

“Hedge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hedge. Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

hedge

1 of 2 noun
1
: a boundary formed by a dense row of shrubs or low trees
2

hedge

2 of 2 verb
hedged; hedging
1
: to enclose or protect with or as if with a hedge
2
: to block with or as if with a barrier
hedged in by restrictions
3
: to avoid giving a direct or exact answer or promise
hedged when asked to support the campaign
hedger noun

Legal Definition

hedge

intransitive verb
ˈhej
hedged; hedging
: to reduce possible losses in speculative transactions by engaging in offsetting transactions (as futures trading)

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