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

  • n. A light anchor used for warping a vessel.
  • transitive v. To warp (a vessel) by means of a light anchor.
  • intransitive v. To move by means of a light anchor.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small anchor used for warping a vessel; also called a kedge anchor.
  • n. A glutton.
  • v. To warp (a vessel) by carrying out a kedge in a boat, dropping it overboard, and hauling the vessel up to it.
  • v. To move with the help of a kedge, as described above.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A small anchor used whenever a large one can be dispensed with. See kedge, v. t., and anchor, n.
  • intransitive v. To move (a vessel) by carrying out a kedge in a boat, dropping it overboard, and hauling the vessel up to it.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To warp, as a ship; move by means of a light cable or hawser attached to an anchor, as in a river.
  • To move by being pulled along with the aid of an anchor.
  • Brisk; lively.
  • Stout; potbellied.
  • Also kedgy.
  • To fill; stuff.
  • n. A small anchor with an iron stock.


From kedge, to warp a vessel, perhaps from Middle English caggen, to tie, perhaps of Scandinavian origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Perhaps an alteration of cadge. (Wiktionary)


  • In a sacred corner (as soon as ever we could attend to any thing) we hung up the leathern bag of tools, which had done much more toward saving the life of Uncle Sam than I did; for this had served as a kind of kedge, or drag, upon his little craft, retarding it from the great roll of billows, in which he must have been drowned outright.

    Erema — My Father's Sin

  • Man the boat, sir, and carry out the kedge, which is still in it, and lay it off here, about three p'ints on our larboard bow. "

    Jack Tier

  • That leaking boat needs another anchor to insure its final destruction and Sarah is a one ton kedge. bea

    Huckabee warns Palin: Don't leave GOP

  • I shall do to-morrow, the first thing — run out a light anchor and kedge the schooner off the beach.

    Chapter 35

  • I found a light kedge anchor in the fore-hold, where such things were kept; and with a deal of exertion got it on deck and into the boat.

    Chapter 36

  • Macdonough then used his preset kedge anchors to spin his ship around in place and bring his other broadside to bear.

    Between War and Peace

  • Madge, be sure to kedge around the side of that CCC.

    Celebrating the "Yes" with a bunch of "No"s

  • WV: kedge v; to frost to a depth of 1 inch or more.

    Celebrating the "Yes" with a bunch of "No"s

  • Both anchors had broken, so the ‘Aurora’ had now one small kedge – anchor left aboard.

    South: the story of Shackleton’s last expedition 1914–1917

  • This notion Bates declared to be correct, and further pointed out that the mutineers had got out a kedge – anchor, and by hauling on the kedge – line, were gradually warping the brig down the harbour.

    For the term of his natural life


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  • Citation on keelek.

    September 6, 2008

  • That's just warped. But I'm glad you dredged it up. :-D

    February 15, 2008

  • Aha. You were right, reesetee. Also, the term I was thinking of was "warping."

    Here's what A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion for Patrick O'Brian's Seafaring Tales has to say:

    kedge OR kedge anchor
    A small anchor with an iron or wooden stock used in mooring to keep a ship steady and clear from her bower anchor while she rides in a harbor or river, particularly at the turn of the tide, when she might ride over her principal anchor, entangle the stock or flukes with her slack cable, and loosen the anchor from the ground. Also used in warping, a way of moving a ship from one part of a harbor to another by dropping the kedge anchor and pulling on the hawser, thus "kedging off."
    (p. 254)

    February 15, 2008

  • Ohhh... I saw that practice used in a book, but it wasn't called kedging at all. It was some other weird word. I'll see if I can dredge it up.

    HA!! I said DREDGE! Nautical humor!!

    February 15, 2008

  • It also has another meaning, I believe: a small anchor used in kedging (pulling a ship along by hauling on the cable of an anchor carried out from the ship and dropped).

    Not sure which is meant here since I'm not doing the reading. :-)

    February 14, 2008

  • "The hands who carried out the kedge and who cast off the moorings knew very well what they were about..."
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Ionian Mission, 341

    I think it might be a variant of ketch.

    February 14, 2008