Definition of hedge in US English:



  • 1A fence or boundary formed by closely growing bushes or shrubs.

    ‘she was standing barefoot in a corner of the lawn, trimming the hedge’
    • ‘High walls, fences, thorny hedges and bushes can all put off burglars but make sure the front of your home is visible to passers-by’
    • ‘Houses, fences, and hedges can act as dams that block wind, causing cold pockets (whenever air stagnates, temperatures drop).’
    • ‘The best thing about my cave, however, is that it's hidden behind a hedge of red bushes, so the curious tourist or hiker is very unlikely to find it.’
    • ‘As the hedge grows, prune the sides so the bottom is slightly wider than the top to prevent the upper limbs from shading the lower ones.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, he falls into the hedge immediately behind the fence.’
    • ‘Lily and tulip bulbs can go into the garden as can deciduous trees, climbers, shrubs and hedges, roses and fruit trees, bushes and canes.’
    • ‘Due to changes in farming methods over the years, many sources for food and nesting places have been lost but gardens with shrubs, hedges and fruit trees go some way to filling the gaps.’
    • ‘They tend to be big, bold shrubs, well adapted to use as a flowering hedge or windbreak, or for planting at the back of a flower border.’
    • ‘A few deciduous bushes make nice hedges, although many look best grown informally rather than sheared.’
    • ‘Dressed in black (how obvious) the person was creeping toward the house, ducking behind bushes and hedges.’
    • ‘As I move away, the incredible house with its dazzling colours disappears again behind the hedge and the bushes, invisible to the outside world.’
    • ‘I've heard it used to describe the man-made features such as walls, paths, arbors, hedges, and fences that divide the garden into different areas.’
    • ‘They'll replant the hedges and grow insanely expensive vegetables for fun.’
    • ‘For added protection from cats, locate the bath out in the open, at least 10 feet from escape cover such as a hedge or shrubs.’
    • ‘Tall shrubs, hedges, or vine-covered fences make a detached patio private.’
    • ‘Soon the conifer area, which alone holds 1,000 species of spruce, and the hedge and shrub area become visible.’
    • ‘The list below shows shrubs used in formal hedges that respond well to frequent or heavy pruning.’
    • ‘Similar to grass shears, only longer, this tool is useful for trimming shrubs and hedges.’
    • ‘Prune shrubs in a formal hedge to resemble a dense, smooth wall.’
    • ‘A good starting point is to install large, specimen trees, hedges, hard landscaping, and water features or to buy a couple of beautiful ceramic or terracotta pots.’
    hedgerow, row of bushes, fence
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    1. 1.1 A contract entered into or asset held as a protection against possible financial loss.
      ‘inflation hedges such as real estate and gold’
      • ‘Holding precious metals was always viewed as a hedge against a runup in inflation.’
      • ‘Traditionally, gold has been coveted as a safe harbor in times of distress and a hedge against inflation.’
      • ‘Also, putting these extras where they show to best advantage provided a good hedge against the financial risk of building a home from scratch.’
      • ‘With recovery comes inflation, with gold a natural hedge against rising prices.’
      • ‘This is because gold is seen as a hedge against the US currency.’
      • ‘This option provides an income stream for life, which is an effective hedge against outliving your retirement income.’
      • ‘Experts nevertheless recommend that sophisticated investors have some gold in their portfolio not only as a hedge against inflation, but also as a way to control risk.’
      • ‘So, as beautiful as the yellow metal might be, gold is neither a hedge against inflation nor a protection against uncertainty.’
      • ‘They also wanted something that would provide a hedge against inflation.’
      • ‘Secondly, the difference involved is meant to act as a partial hedge against fluctuations in currencies.’
      • ‘In his view, companies keep inventory as a hedge against poor demand forecasts and an inability to see into their supply chains.’
      • ‘The art market grew during the 20 years preceding the Civil War, then boomed as investors sought art as a hedge against inflation.’
      • ‘Indeed, building robust connections with users is the best hedge against adversity.’
      • ‘The indices also reveal that art can be a poor hedge against inflation over short periods.’
      • ‘The savings ratio is also influenced by inflation (rising prices), because people feel a greater need to save as a hedge against higher inflation.’
      • ‘He also knows - and if he doesn't he should - that geographical diversity in a pension portfolio is an essential hedge against harder times at home.’
      • ‘Back then, gold was presumed to be the only hedge against both inflation and a falling dollar.’
      • ‘Diversifying your portfolio is a hedge against the down times.’
      • ‘They also view the credits as a hedge against even tighter restrictions in the future.’
      • ‘And, of course, some companies are mitigating losses through currency hedges.’
      safeguard, protection, shield, screen, guard, buffer, cushion
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    2. 1.2 A word or phrase used to allow for additional possibilities or to avoid commitment, for example, etc., often, usually, or sometimes.
      • ‘The presence of a hedge provides information regarding whether a student answer is right or wrong.’
      • ‘People believe that directness is rude and use a variety of euphemisms and hedges to avoid it.’
      equivocation, evasion, fudge, quibble, qualification, qualifying expression
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[with object]
  • 1Surround or bound with a hedge.

    ‘a garden hedged with yews’
    • ‘The floor area is shortly to be fenced to a height of three feet, then hedged and landscaped and when completed will be only facility of its kind in football and hopefully used for the promotion of the game in local schools.’
    • ‘But the further south I got in England, the more the land was fenced in and hedged off.’
    • ‘At the junction of these roads was a fairly large field hedged all round.’
    surround, enclose, encircle, circle, ring, border, edge, bound
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    1. 1.1hedge something in Enclose something.
      • ‘When I approached the town I discovered that gardens and orchards hedged it in.’
      • ‘Are you hedged in for privacy or open for all the world to see?’
      • ‘And anyway, it will be hedged in with get-out clauses about affordability.’
      • ‘Dated 10 November 1918, it shows the artist hedged in by the surrounding objects in his studio, as he stands, as though trapped, behind the back of his easel and looks across the darkness at his mirror image.’
      confine, enclose, impound, shut up, pen, pen in, pen up, fence in, hedge in
      confine, enclose, impound, pen, pen in, pen up, fence in, hedge in
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  • 2Limit or qualify (something) by conditions or exceptions.

    ‘experts usually hedge their predictions, just in case’
    • ‘A formal procedure hedged with safeguards would protect doctors from criminal prosecution.’
    • ‘Even scientists optimistic about the future have hedged their predictions with warnings.’
    • ‘That, says my editor, is an unacceptable cop-out: your readers are entitled to your views, even if they are carefully hedged with all these warnings.’
    • ‘Barely a week later, it is reported that the Government has ‘buckled to pressure from the green movement’, and hedged its commitment to these technologies once more.’
    • ‘But they hedge their predictions that there will be a global economic upturn some time later next year.’
    • ‘The climate change debate is hedged by uncertainties.’
    • ‘Moreover, the exemptions are placed on a clear statutory footing and are hedged with appropriate safeguards.’
    • ‘Why are you all hedging this support on constitutional reform?’
    confine, restrict, limit, hinder, obstruct, impede, constrain, trap
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    1. 2.1no object Avoid making a definite decision, statement, or commitment.
      ‘she hedged around the one question she wanted to ask’
      • ‘I mean, you're even hedging on whether this was a murder?’
      • ‘Women hedge answers more often than men in tutoring interactions.’
      • ‘Note that we're not hedging that statement - it will happen.’
      • ‘Many times throughout the article, he carefully hedged his statements.’
      • ‘He hedged his statements in a way that suggested ignorance or cowardice.’
      • ‘Under a storm of protest, Sontag at first hedged and then eventually dodged the issue.’
      • ‘Students hedge and apologize often to human tutors, but very rarely to computer tutors.’
      • ‘We note too that his pronouncements are hedged with bureaucratic justification.’
      • ‘He added: ‘Perhaps you hedged on this, so as to avoid giving the directors of intelligence too much detailed information.’’
      • ‘No details were given, and Potter hedged his words carefully in a call with analysts.’
      • ‘‘I've been busy,’ I hedged, trying to avoid eye contact.’
      • ‘Then he wanted me to tell him what was up, I hedged saying I didn't want to talk about it over the phone.’
      • ‘Although Bernstein hedged a bit in the media center when asked if this time was really his last, if it was, it was a heck of a way to go out.’
      • ‘He hedges a little but you can tell; this is his last year all right.’
      • ‘She still hedges a bit on her command responsibility, but I think she actually acquitted herself quite well in this online discussion.’
      • ‘Treason is a difficult one to actually get a conviction on, so I think that's why they are hedging away from that.’
      avoid, not give a straight answer to, dodge, sidestep, bypass, fence, fend off, parry, skirt round, fudge, quibble about, be equivocal about, be evasive about
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  • 3Protect oneself against loss on (a bet or investment) by making balancing or compensating transactions.

    ‘the company hedged its investment position on the futures market’
    • ‘And of course, we benefited from the upside in the gold price, but not as significant as one would have expected, because as you know, we are heavily hedged.’
    • ‘Gold is being used as an investment to hedge against US dollar uncertainty.’
    • ‘In other words, investors hedge one investment by making another.’
    • ‘Private investors can reduce the risks created by a weak dollar by hedging their currency exposure.’
    • ‘Options are a great way to hedge against your existing positions to decrease risk.’
    • ‘They are a good way for conservative investors to hedge against inflation as they guarantee the face value of the investment over a set period of time and provide a small income.’
    • ‘Having hedged its fuel bill for the winter, which should keep costs under control, the airline is monitoring whether to continue hedging for the summer.’
    • ‘This swap would be expected to hedge against the rising financing cost of their short term debt.’
    • ‘Currency exposure can be hedged, but it costs money - enough, in many cases, to make the trade unprofitable.’
    • ‘I prefer to own these bonds in equal parts to hedge against a loss in the value of the U.S. dollar.’
    • ‘But you need to spread you portfolio to hedge against a fall in the stock market.’
    • ‘Also, net non-local currency cashflows must be hedged for a 12-month period.’
    • ‘The forward market, used to hedge holdings in the currency, indicates the same.’
    • ‘It was insulated to much of the increase as it had hedged its jet fuel requirement at lower prices and would continue to do so again this year.’
    • ‘While we'd like to keep as much money as possible in the business to hedge against a downturn, we find that we're hindered by our corporate form and tax status.’
    • ‘‘All currency exposure outside the eurozone is hedged,’ he said.’
    • ‘But how can investors hedge against rising commodity prices?’
    • ‘Not all problems are soluble, not all risks can be hedged at acceptable cost.’
    • ‘It's also a leader in complex derivatives that allow others to hedge against the risk of fluctuating commodities prices.’
    • ‘Taking into account the worst scenario of a further rise in property prices, is there any kind of investment that I can hedge against this with my cash after the sale?’
    safeguard, protect, shield, guard, cushion, cover, insure, take out insurance, take out insurance cover
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  • hedge one's bets

    • Avoid committing oneself when faced with a difficult choice.

      • ‘And prudence is not the art of hedging your bets.’
      • ‘And they hedge their bets by avoiding specific predictions for how long it will take to colonize this or that planet, or to travel to this or that star.’
      • ‘Well, maybe not; maybe it's far too early to even talk about hedging their bets.’
      • ‘Maybe they're hedging their bets about further defections.’
      • ‘If you look carefully inside the present museum, what you see is that we hedged our bets and made a number of different reconstructions from semi-subterranean through to various larger and taller buildings.’
      • ‘And like me, it's a safe bet that you read with fingers in multiple pages, hedging your bets.’
      • ‘A further 18% hedged their bets, saying prices would remain stable.’
      • ‘We have existing laws on the books, but I think many criminals are kind of hedging their bets by thinking they either won't get caught, or the system will be so slow that it will work to their favor.’
      • ‘And, indeed, you were hedging your bets at one point, weren't you, in the Minnesota case?’
      • ‘But hiring has been so slow and most economists have been so wrong on this issue that some are now hedging their bets.’
      • ‘They are simply hedging their bets, forming a relationship with you early on, in a competitive industry and punting on your future success.’
      • ‘Some are hedging their bets on the Times’ hyped self-examination.’
      • ‘Yet it was almost as if they were hedging their bets, saying something about this player in this game that they could say again about someone else in the next game, three days later.’
      • ‘But I expect wealthy buyers will be hedging their bets before long.’
      • ‘No one knows at this point in time who that next ‘leader’ will be, and many are hedging their bets.’
      • ‘It's evident that city leaders past and present have hedged their bets on entertainment districts.’
      • ‘Some clan chiefs hedged their bets and sent sons off to fight on opposing sides.’
      • ‘How then can one avoid this risk and hedge one's bets?’
      • ‘Punters were hedging their bets as more than 300 birds flew for a prize of £20,000 in The Royal Pigeon Racing Association's jubilee race.’
      • ‘But to hedge your bets, you bet the other way as well.’
      prevaricate, equivocate, vacillate, quibble, hesitate, stall, evade the issue, dodge the issue, fudge the issue, sidestep the issue, be non-committal, be evasive, be indecisive, be vague, hedge one's bets, beat about the bush, parry questions, pussyfoot around, mince one's words, shilly-shally
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Old English hegg, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch heg and German Hecke.