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
But this hedge by China and Russa should not obscure the significance of their recent overtures to Kabul. Asfandyar Mir, Foreign Affairs, 14 Mar. 2024 When congratulated by Griffin’s staff, city emails show Cedro offered to write more articles beneficial to the hedge funder. Sarah Blaskey, Miami Herald, 5 Feb. 2024 In the right climate—Zones 10 and 11—ixora will easily become a hedge. Marissa Wu, Southern Living, 12 Mar. 2024 Cubes of slow-roasted pork belly, glossy with Korean barbecue sauce, line up next to a neat hedge of fresh coleslaw, and tender ricotta gnocchi come scattered with fleshy mushrooms. Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, 8 Mar. 2024 Where small farms bordered by brushy fence rows and hedge rows once stood, there are now large farms with little cover visible. Brent Frazee, Kansas City Star, 31 Jan. 2024 Finally, certain kumquats and their hybrids fruit nonstop and are used for ornamental purposes either individually or in hedges. Joshua Siskin, Orange County Register, 27 Jan. 2024 Ineligible are all palm varieties, woody plants used to create hedges, weeping trees with soft branches that touch the ground, certain invasive species and trees that don’t provide sufficient shade or are pruned to reduce their canopy, according to the district. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, 6 Mar. 2024 This would enable the BOJ to nudge rates higher without undermining the economy and stock market, and international investors could lift currency hedges then. Nick Sargen, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024
Verb
After he gets fired from his job at an Indiana sporting goods store and his wife walks out on him, Pryce hedges his bets entirely on a troubled 17-year-old golf phenom, who will be played by Dager. Katcy Stephan, Variety, 5 Apr. 2024 The impact of the record-high cocoa prices has not yet fully been felt by consumers, as companies hedge prices and contract for supplies up to a year ahead. Kate Gibson, CBS News, 2 Apr. 2024 Though many chocolate producers hedge their costs months in advance so they’re not exposed to the volatility of spot markets — Hershey told investors its cocoa supplies were locked up a year out —the jump in cocoa prices is still a bright spot on their radars. Melvin Backman, Quartz, 29 Mar. 2024 Called back to the stand for a third time last Monday, Nehring hedged his denial. Nate Gartrell, The Mercury News, 27 Mar. 2024 But while Dell may prefer to hedge, the market isn’t hiding its exuberance. Michal Lev-Ram, Fortune, 25 Mar. 2024 In turn, that pushed up the hedging costs of quants’ market-neutral products, some of which were leveraged up as much as 300%, prompting them to unwind positions. Bloomberg, Fortune Asia, 23 Feb. 2024 The threats that emerge from Trump’s behavior will haunt Europe even if Trump does not win in November. NEAR MISS After Trump’s 2016 election, many foreign leaders hedged their bets, anticipating a shift in U.S. foreign policy but also operating in a wait-and-see mode. Liana Fix, Foreign Affairs, 22 Mar. 2024 Statehouse staff are hedging their bets on when precisely the legislative session will end this year. Brittany Carloni, The Indianapolis Star, 7 Mar. 2024
Adjective
REITs, on the other hand, hedge inflation and pay dividends. Jim Osman, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 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

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 17 Apr. 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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