kedge

verb
\ 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

kedge

noun

Definition of kedge (Entry 2 of 2)

: a small anchor used especially in kedging

First Known Use of kedge

Verb

1627, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Noun

1765, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kedge

Verb

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).

Noun

short for kiedge-anchor, formed with kedge entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about kedge

Time Traveler for kedge

Time Traveler

The first known use of kedge was in 1627

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about kedge

Statistics for kedge

Cite this Entry

“Kedge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kedge. Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

Comments on kedge

What made you want to look up kedge? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Thing: Animal Edition

  • alt 5a023732e6f75
  • Name that animal:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!