Definition of kedge in US English:



  • (with reference to a ship or boat) move by hauling in a hawser attached to a small anchor dropped at some distance.

    with object ‘I kedged the dinghy to the port’
    no object ‘most of the smaller boats had to kedge for a while’
    • ‘Disaster threatened until Captain Hull astutely towed, wetted sails, and kedged to draw the ship slowly ahead of her pursuers.’
    • ‘In fact, the reverse may be the problem and we could be spending time kedged as the tide turns foul off Portland Bill (if we even get that far!’
    • ‘The wheels extend below the deployed outboard hulls to assist in kedging by reducing friction, suction, and risk of hull damage.’
    • ‘Still he dutifully logged the coordinates and, helped by the tide, kedged his ship off the reef leaving behind an island whose far and distant isolation would one day become its most valuable feature.’
    • ‘Notice that you need to ‘pull on the line’ in order to actually perform the process of kedging.’
    • ‘Once we kedged our way off a mud bar on the Mystic River, the silty anchor tossed again and again till our boat glided free.’
    • ‘Preparations for kedging should be made well clear of the shore, outside any surf line which exists.’
    • ‘On October 16 the ships kedged their way up the harbor and formed a line out of range from shore.’
    • ‘A few boats came by and gave a ride to most onboard while we waited for the tide to turn and eventually kedged ourselves free.’
    • ‘Nobody we saw kedged at this point, although we did consider both the act and the chaos it might cause if everyone tried it…’
    • ‘The British were taken aback by the enemy ship's apparent burst of speed, but they soon discovered the trick and began kedging themselves.’
    • ‘As at Goshen, these craft, because of the narrowness of the creek, had to be launched sideways, and then were often kedged down the creek to the bay.’
    • ‘In beautiful sunshine and beautiful surroundings we kedged ourselves off and managed to catch the last lock of the day into the swamp.’


  • A small anchor used to reposition a ship or boat by having the anchor's hawser hauled in.

    • ‘So, equipped with kedge anchors and cable, and adorned in their skin-tight diving gear, they set off.’
    • ‘The crew had run out the kedge anchor to move the vessel ahead when breaking seas interfered.’
    • ‘At least double the scope required is paid out and the kedge anchor is dropped.’
    • ‘The stern is marked by a small kedge anchor.’
    • ‘Use a Dinghy or tender to row the kedge anchor in deeper water.’


Late 15th century: perhaps a specific use of dialect cadge ‘bind, tie’.