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hang (hăng)
v. hung (hŭng), hang·ing, hangs
1. To fasten from above with no support from below; suspend: hung the hat on a peg.
2. To suspend or fasten so as to allow free movement at or about the point of suspension: hang a door.
3. past tense and past participle hanged (hăngd)
a. To execute by hanging: They hanged the prisoner at dawn.
b. Used to express exasperation or disgust: I'll be hanged! Hang it all!
4. To alter the hem of (a garment) so as to fall evenly at a specified height.
5. To furnish, decorate, or appoint by suspending objects around or about: hang a room with curtains.
6. To hold or incline downward; let droop: hang one's head in sorrow.
7. Informal To make (a turn in a specific direction): At the next intersection, hang a right.
a. To attach to a wall: hang wallpaper.
b. To display by attaching to a wall or other structure: hung four new paintings in the foyer.
9. Informal To give (a nickname or label) to someone.
10. To deadlock (a jury) by failing to render a unanimous verdict.
11. Baseball To throw (a pitch) in such a manner as to fail to break.
12. Computers To cause (a computer system) to halt so that input devices, such as the keyboard or the mouse, do not function.
1. To be attached from above with no support from below.
2. To die as a result of hanging.
3. To remain suspended or poised over a place or an object; hover: rain clouds hanging low over the corn fields.
4. To attach oneself as a dependent or an impediment; cling.
5. To incline downward; droop.
6. To depend: Everything hangs on the committee's decision.
7. To pay strict attention: a student who hangs on the professor's every word.
8. To remain unresolved or uncertain: His future hung in the balance.
9. To fit the body in loose lines: a dress that hangs well.
10. To be on display, as in a gallery.
11. Baseball To fail to break or move in the intended way, as a curve ball.
12. To be imminent; loom: the threat hanging over us.
13. To be or become burdensome: Time hung heavy on my hands.
14. Computers To be halted, as a computer system, so that input devices do not function: The power surge caused my computer to hang, so I had to reboot it.
15. Slang
a. To spend one's free time in a certain place. Often used with around or out: liked to hang out at the pool hall.
b. To pass time idly; loiter. Often used with around or out: spent the evening hanging at home; hung out for an hour before going to the play.
c. To keep company; see socially. Often used with around or out: hangs around with kids from a different school.
1. The way in which something hangs.
2. A downward inclination or slope.
3. Particular meaning or significance.
4. Informal The proper method for doing, using, or handling something: finally got the hang of it.
5. A suspension of motion; a slackening.
Phrasal Verbs:
hang back
To be averse; hold back.
hang in Informal
To persevere: decided to hang in despite his illness.
hang off
To hold back; be averse.
hang on
1. To cling tightly to something.
2. To continue persistently; persevere: We'll finish if we can just hang on.
3. To keep a telephone connection open.
4. To wait for a short period of time.
hang together
1. To stand united; stick together: "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately" (Benjamin Franklin).
2. To constitute a coherent totality: diverse plot lines that did not hang together.
hang up
1. To suspend on a hook or hanger.
a. To replace (a telephone receiver) on its base or cradle.
b. To end a telephone conversation.
3. To delay or impede; hinder: Budget problems hung up the project for months.
4. To become halted or snagged: The fishing line hung up on a rock.
5. Informal To have or cause to have emotional difficulties or inhibitions.
give/care a hang
To be concerned or anxious: I don't give a hang what you do.
hang fire
1. To delay: "They are people who hung fire even through the bloody days of the Hungarian Revolution" (Mark Muro).
2. To be slow in firing, as a gun.
hang in there Informal
To persevere despite difficulties; persist: She hung in there despite pressure to resign.
hang it up Informal
To give up; quit.
hang loose Slang
To stay calm or relaxed.
hang (one's) hat
To settle oneself; take up residence: hung my hat in Chicago.
hang on to
To hold firmly; keep fast: Hang on to your money.
hang (someone) out to dry Informal
To leave (someone) in a difficult situation, especially in taking blame for a failure or an act of wrongdoing.
hang tough Informal
To remain firmly resolved: "We are going to hang tough on this" (Donald T. Regan).
let it all hang out Slang
1. To be completely relaxed.
2. To be completely candid.

[Middle English hongen, from Old English hangian, to be suspended, and from hōn, to hang; see konk- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

hanga·ble adj.

Usage Note: Hanged, as a past tense and a past participle of hang, is used in the sense of "to put to death by hanging," as in Frontier courts hanged many a prisoner after a summary trial. In our 2008 survey, some 71 percent of the Usage Panel objected to hung used in this sense. The Panel's opposition to this usage has remained strong since balloting began in the 1960s. In all other senses, hung is the preferred form as past tense and past participle, as in I hung my child's picture above my desk.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.