Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A row of closely planted shrubs or low-growing trees forming a fence or boundary.
  • n. A line of people or objects forming a barrier: a hedge of spectators along the sidewalk.
  • n. A means of protection or defense, especially against financial loss: a hedge against inflation.
  • n. A securities transaction that reduces the risk on an existing investment position.
  • n. An intentionally noncommittal or ambiguous statement.
  • n. A word or phrase, such as possibly or I think, that mitigates or weakens the certainty of a statement.
  • transitive v. To enclose or bound with or as if with hedges.
  • transitive v. To hem in, hinder, or restrict with or as if with a hedge.
  • transitive v. To minimize or protect against the loss of by counterbalancing one transaction, such as a bet, against another.
  • intransitive v. To plant or cultivate hedges.
  • intransitive v. To take compensatory measures so as to counterbalance possible loss.
  • intransitive v. To avoid making a clear, direct response or statement.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A thicket of bushes, usually thorn bushes; especially, such a thicket planted as a fence between any two portions of land; and also any sort of shrubbery, as evergreens, planted in a line or as a fence; particularly, such a thicket planted round a field to fence it, or in rows to separate the parts of a garden.
  • n. A non-committal or intentionally ambiguous statement.
  • n. Contract or arrangement reducing one's exposure to risk (for example the risk of price movements or interest rate movements).
  • n. Used attributively, with figurative indication of a person's upbringing, or professional activities, taking place by the side of the road; third-rate.
  • v. To enclose.
  • v. To obstruct.
  • v. To offset the risk associated with.
  • v. To avoid verbal commitment.
  • v. To construct or repair a hedge.
  • v. To reduce one's exposure to risk.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A thicket of bushes, usually thorn bushes; especially, such a thicket planted as a fence between any two portions of land; and also any sort of shrubbery, as evergreens, planted in a line or as a fence; particularly, such a thicket planted round a field to fence it, or in rows to separate the parts of a garden.
  • intransitive v. To shelter one's self from danger, risk, duty, responsibility, etc., as if by hiding in or behind a hedge; to skulk; to slink; to shirk obligations.
  • intransitive v. To reduce the risk of a wager by making a bet against the side or chance one has bet on.
  • intransitive v. To use reservations and qualifications in one's speech so as to avoid committing one's self to anything definite.
  • transitive v. To inclose or separate with a hedge; to fence with a thickly set line or thicket of shrubs or small trees.
  • transitive v. To obstruct, as a road, with a barrier; to hinder from progress or success; -- sometimes with up and out.
  • transitive v. To surround for defense; to guard; to protect; to hem (in).
  • transitive v. To surround so as to prevent escape.
  • transitive v. To protect oneself against excessive loss in an activity by taking a countervailing action.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To inclose or fence with a hedge; separate by a hedge: as, to hedge a field or garden.
  • To obstruct with a hedge or any barrier; stop or restrain by any kind of obstruction.
  • To surround with something as a barrier or a border; compass about; hem in.
  • In sporting, to protect by betting on both sides. See to hedge a bet, below.
  • To hide as in a hedge; shift; skulk.
  • In betting, to protect one's self from loss by cross-bets. See to hedge a bet, above.
  • Hence To provide a means of retreat or escape; avoid committing one's self irrevocably to anything.
  • To make or mend hedges.
  • n. A barrier or fence formed by bushes or small trees growing close together, such as thorn-bushes or beeches, and sometimes by woven twigs or wattling; also, a closely planted row of any kind of shrubbery, as evergreens, whether intended as a fence or not. See hedge-plant.
  • n. A structure made to lead fish into channels across which nets are spread.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. avoid or try to avoid fulfilling, answering, or performing (duties, questions, or issues)
  • v. enclose or bound in with or as it with a hedge or hedges
  • v. minimize loss or risk
  • n. an intentionally noncommittal or ambiguous statement
  • v. hinder or restrict with or as if with a hedge
  • n. any technique designed to reduce or eliminate financial risk; for example, taking two positions that will offset each other if prices change
  • n. a fence formed by a row of closely planted shrubs or bushes

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English hecg.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English hegge, from Old English hecg, from Proto-Germanic *hagjō (compare Dutch heg, German Hecke), from Proto-Indo-European *kagʰyo-. More at haw. (Wiktionary)

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