"coarse grass-like plant growing in wet places," Old English secg "sedge, reed, rush," from Proto-Germanic *sagjaz "plant with a cutting edge" (source also of Low German segge, German Segge), from suffixed form of PIE root *sek- "to cut," on notion of plant with "cutting" leaves. Compare Old English secg, identical in form but meaning "sword;" and German schwertel-gras "sedge" from schwert "sword," also see the etymological sense of gladiolus). Old Irish seisg, Welsh hesgreed "rush" might represent a similar sense development from the same root. Often spelled seg, segg until present form triumphed early 1900s.
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