From Middle English hegge, from Old English heċġ, from Proto-West Germanic *haggju, from Proto-Germanic *hagjō, from Proto-Indo-European *kagʰyóm (“enclosure”). Cognate with Dutch heg, German Hecke. Doublet of quay. More at haw.
hedge (plural hedges)
- A thicket of bushes or other shrubbery, especially one planted as a fence between two portions of land, or to separate the parts of a garden.
- He trims the hedge once a week.
- 1879, R[ichard] J[efferies], chapter 1, in The Amateur Poacher, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., […], OCLC 752825175:
- But then I had the [massive] flintlock by me for protection. ¶ […] The linen-press and a chest on the top of it formed, however, a very good gun-carriage; and, thus mounted, aim could be taken out of the window […], and a 'bead' could be drawn upon Molly, the dairymaid, kissing the fogger behind the hedge, little dreaming that the deadly tube was levelled at them.
- A barrier (often consisting of a line of persons or objects) to protect someone or something from harm.
- 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), London: […] Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981, Job 1:9–10:
- Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
- (UK, West Country, chiefly Devon and Cornwall) A mound of earth, stone- or turf-faced, often topped with bushes, used as a fence between any two portions of land.
- (pragmatics) A non-committal or intentionally ambiguous statement.
- Coordinate term: weasel word
- 2018, James Lambert, “Setting the Record Straight: An In-depth Examination of Hobson-Jobson”, in International Journal of Lexicography, volume 31, number 4, DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/ijl/ecy010, page 487:
- When not inaccurate, much commentary on the contents of Hobson-Jobson is couched in hedges or relies on speculative estimates in the absence of exact information.
- (finance) Contract or arrangement reducing one's exposure to risk (for example the risk of price movements or interest rate movements).
- The asset class acts as a hedge.
- A hedge is an investment position intended to offset potential losses/gains that may be incurred by a companion investment. In simple language, a hedge is used to reduce any substantial losses/gains suffered by an individual or an organization.
- (UK, Ireland, noun adjunct) Used attributively, with figurative indication of a person's upbringing, or professional activities, taking place by the side of the road; third-rate.
- 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 2, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes […], book II, London: […] Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount […], OCLC 946730821:
- Attalus […] made him so dead-drunke that insensibly and without feeling he might prostitute his beauty as the body of a common hedge-harlot, to Mulettiers, Groomes and many of the abject servants of his house.
- 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, volume (please specify |volume=I to VI), London: A[ndrew] Millar […], OCLC 928184292:, Folio Society 1973, p.639:
- He then traced them from place to place, till at last he found two of them drinking together, with a third person, at a hedge-tavern near Aldersgate.
- 1899, Henry Rider Haggard, A Farmer's Year: Being His Commonplace Book for 1898, page 222:
- This particular wheelwright is only a hedge carpenter, without even a shop of his own, […].
- Cornish hedge
- hedge bindweed
- Hedge End
- hedge fund
- hedge garlic
- hedge maze
- hedge mustard
- hedge school
- hedge sermon
- hedge sparrow
- hedge tree
- hedge trimmer
- hedge warbler
- homely as a hedge fence
- (transitive) To enclose with a hedge or hedges.
- to hedge a field or garden
- (transitive) To obstruct or surround.
- 1670, John Milton, “(please specify the page)”, in The History of Britain, that Part Especially now Call’d England. […] , London: […] J[ohn] M[acock] for James Allestry, […] , OCLC 946735472:
- Lollius Urbius […] drew another wall […] to hedge out incursions from the north.
- (transitive, finance) To offset the risk associated with.
- (transitive, intransitive) To avoid verbal commitment.
- He carefully hedged his statements with weasel words.
- (intransitive) To construct or repair a hedge.
- (intransitive, finance) To reduce one's exposure to risk.
- Alternative form of