1. A row of closely planted shrubs or low-growing trees forming a fence or boundary.
2. A line of people or objects forming a barrier: a hedge of spectators along the sidewalk.
a. A means of protection or defense, especially against financial loss: a hedge against inflation.
b. A securities transaction that reduces the risk on an existing investment position.
4. An intentionally noncommittal or ambiguous statement.
5. A word or phrase, such as possibly or I think, that mitigates or weakens the certainty of a statement.
v. hedged, hedg·ing, hedg·es
1. To enclose or bound with or as if with hedges.
2. To hem in, hinder, or restrict with or as if with a hedge.
3. To minimize or protect against the loss of by counterbalancing one transaction, such as a bet, against another.
1. To plant or cultivate hedges.
2. To take compensatory measures so as to counterbalance possible loss.
3. To avoid making a clear, direct response or statement.
[Middle English, from Old English hecg.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.