Choose or support more than one option at a time in an effort to reduce the chance of losing.

The wordhedgemeansto avoid making a definitive commitment. It comes from thenounhedge, which means a fence made of shrubbery. The hedge that forms a fence offers protection and security, much like hedging a bet.

Hedge your betsfirst appeared in the late-1600s. The first use was by George Villiers, the 2nd Duke of Buckingham, in his playThe Rehearsal(1672):

Before the coinage ofhedge your bets,hedgewas used in conjunction with other words to form phrases. But, the late-1600s was the first time it was used ashedge a bet.

In the following example, a new mother is discussing childcare with her friend.

Kerry: So, did you decide which daycare to use for your child?

Christine: I decided to use one in the next town away from where I live. My city didnt have any good ones.

Christine: Well, I wanted to hedge my bets, so I picked the top 10 daycares. Im going to apply to all of them. Hopefully shell get into at least one.

Kerry: Wow! Didnt it take a long time to fill out all that paperwork?

Christine: Yes, it took an extremely long time, but its worth it to increase the chances of finding the best place.

In this dialogue, two friends are eating at a restaurant.

Nyima: Im going to order the chicken vindaloo and the palak paneer.

Arlena: Youre ordering two entrees? Are you really hungry?

Nyima: No, not at all. But Im not sure if Ill like them, so I thought Id hedge my bets by ordering two things. If I dont like one of them, Ill eat the other one. Ill give the extra to my husband. He likes everything.

This excerpt is from an advice column. The columnist advises a man to choose someone he really feels passionate about, not someone he feels like he is settling for.

This excerpt is from an article about how to get into a good school. The author advises not choosing only the most competitive schools. Those are very hard to get into, and will likely not work out. Rather, pick a range of possible schools.

Hedge your bets by finding other suitable schools. Consider special honors programs within big schools oases of excellence that give kids a greater sense of belonging. Each selective program requires a separate listing on the high-school application.

Thephrasehedge your betsmeans to reduce the risk of making the wrong choice by choosing multiple options.

Began vs. Begun: Whats the Difference?

Bear With Me or Bare With Me: Whats the Difference?