\ ˈkej How to pronounce kedge (audio) \
kedged; kedging

Definition of kedge

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to move (a ship) by means of a line attached to a small anchor dropped at the distance and in the direction desired

intransitive verb

: to move a ship by kedging



Definition of kedge (Entry 2 of 2)

: a small anchor used especially in kedging

First Known Use of kedge


1627, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


1765, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kedge


perhaps variant of cadge "to fasten, tie," going back to Middle English caggen, of obscure origin

Note: Though the variation in vowel between kedge and cadge is unremarkable (compare \kech\ as an alternate pronunciation of \kach\ for catch entry 1), evidence for the existence of cadge is exiguous, the best example being an isolated record of the word in 18th-century Lancashire (in Francis Grose, A Provincial Glossary, 2nd edition, 1790). Middle English caggen is equally problematic, as the meaning of none of the five citations in the Middle English Dictionary is certain; the variation of forms in the manuscripts of the Siege of Jerusalem and Wars of Alexander suggests that the copyists were likewise unsure of the word's identity. There is no likely relation with early Scots cagger, cadgear "itinerant dealer in fish or other goods" (see cadge).


short for kiedge-anchor, formed with kedge entry 1

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Cite this Entry

“Kedge.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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