Definition of hang on in English:

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hang on

1Hold tightly: he hung on to the back of her coat
More example sentences
  • Jennifer grabbed David around the waist and hung on tightly trying to prevent the tiger getting him out of the vehicle.
  • Clasping me around the neck he hung on tightly, and it was all I could do to breathe.
  • Bracing herself as best as she could, Raquel hung on tightly to her chair with her good arm.
hold on to, hold fast to, grip, clutch, grasp, hold tightly to, cling to
1.1 informal Remain firm or persevere, especially in difficult circumstances: we must hang on as best we can
More example sentences
  • The doctors said I must hang on because they cannot write me off.
  • He was heartened by the way his side hung on for victory at Everton last weekend, but still concerned at their failure to finish the game off.
  • But she's persistent so she hangs on, and so we're caught in this constitutional crisis.
persevere, hold out, hold on, go on, carry on, keep on, keep going, keep at it, continue, persist, stay with it, struggle on, plod on
informal soldier on, stick to/at it, stick it out, hang in there
1.2 (hang on to) Keep; retain: he is determined to hang on to his job
More example sentences
  • Local government hung on to all its underspend for the new financial year.
  • Phoebe is honest and upright and true and I hope she hangs on to that because she's got this defiantly moral streak in her.
  • I was hanging on to too much of the interesting tax planning cases in the business rather than letting others contribute.
2 informal Wait for a short time: hang on a minute—do you think I might have left anything out?
More example sentences
  • ‘Yeah - wait, hang on,’ she let go of my hand and grabbed my shoulder as she untied her shoe.
  • But I ask members to hang on and wait - there is more; help is on the way.
  • But hang on a minute - what's the council tax all about then?
wait, wait a minute, wait a second, hold on, stop;
hold the line/phone
informal hold your horses, sit tight, wait a sec
2.1(On the telephone) remain connected until one is able to talk to a particular person.
Example sentences
  • Did you know that the number one cause of rage in the UK is being left hanging on the telephone?
  • The armed raider was left hanging on the telephone as his hostages left the building through the front door and bathroom window.
  • Richard Ford is livid after hanging on the telephone for hours trying to sort out his family's child tax credit.
3Be contingent or dependent on: the future of Europe should not hang on a referendum by the French
More example sentences
  • But if the UN is to continue forward with this renewed momentum much hangs on the outcome of the US presidential election and its present campaign.
  • Much hangs on the outcome of France's referendum on the European Union constitution on May 29.
  • The entire case apparently hangs on the circumstance that they are paid less well than employees in the private sector.
depend on, be dependent on, turn on, hinge on, rest on, be contingent on, be determined by, be decided by
4Listen closely to: she hung on his every word
More example sentences
  • Jimmie explained the process and Sara listened raptly, hanging on every word.
  • A thousand times he had pleaded with her, and like a fool she had listened to him, hanging on his every word.
  • It was an excellent chance for him to show off his technical guitar playing prowess, and I hung on every note.
See parent entry: hang
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