Definition of hang in English:

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Pronunciation: /haNG/

verb (past hung /həNG/ except in sense 2)

1Suspend or be suspended from above with the lower part dangling free: [with object]: that’s where people are supposed to hang their wash [no object]: a chain hanging freely over two pegs
More example sentences
  • Above it all, dark shapes hang suspended, almost motionless, swaying with the breeze.
  • His arms hung down limply, one over the edge of the couch.
  • From the side, you can check for the correct posture: spine straight but tilted, arms hanging freely and knees slightly flexed.
be suspended, dangle, hang down, be pendent, swing, sway
1.1Attach or be attached to a wall: [with object]: we could just hang the pictures on the walls [no object]: the room in which the pictures will hang
More example sentences
  • Large pictures of fifties stars hung along the walls and a song from the musical Grease played on the jukebox in the corner.
  • They looked at everything from the pictures hung neatly on the wall, to the conditions of the easy chairs and beds.
  • Tammy and Greg's wedding picture was framed and hung perfectly on the wall.
put up, fix, attach, affix, fasten, post, display, suspend, pin up, nail up
1.2 (be hung with) Be adorned with pictures or other decorations: the walls of her hall were hung with examples of her work
More example sentences
  • His walls were hung with pictures of himself.
  • The room was hung with pictures of pastoral scenes and paintings inspired by the cult of Isis, who is symbolized by a cow.
  • Stateley and bright, the entire hall was hung with banners, and in the right-hand corner of the room musicians played on hand-drum, pipe and lute, creating an atmosphere both festive and patriotic.
decorate, adorn, drape, festoon, deck out, trick out, bedeck, array, garland, swathe, cover, ornament
literary bedizen
1.3Attach or be attached so as to allow free movement about the point of attachment: [with object]: a long time was spent hanging a couple of doors
More example sentences
  • He noticed that the pendulums of the two suspended clocks, hanging side by side from a common support, were swinging together.
  • Hanging a door correctly is one of the most satisfying jobs in the home improvement world, but it's often the most challenging.
  • If you hang the gate as you are suggesting it will sag from the hinges and eventually just scrape on the floor.
1.4 [no object] (Of fabric or a garment) be arranged in folds so as to droop in a specified way: this blend of silk and wool hangs well and resists creases
More example sentences
  • The soft fabric hung perfectly from Penelope's curves and the bright white complemented her dark skin.
  • She made a rather scrawny boy and Bryson's garments hung loosely on her form, but she would pass.
  • If you simply lay the pattern pieces anywhere on the fabric, ignoring the grain-lines, the finished garment will not hang right.
1.5 [with object] Paste (wallpaper) to a wall.
Example sentences
  • The introduction of papering techniques whereby the wall rather than the paper is pasted has made hanging the wallpaper less fraught with peril than it used to be.
  • It took all in all 4 days to do it, 2 days hanging wallpaper and 2 days for the preparations.
  • If you are not sure whether your walls need sizing or not, it is best to do it because it is quick and makes hanging wallpaper easier.
1.6North American informal way of saying hang around sense 2 or hang out sense 3.
Example sentences
  • So now instead of interviews and hanging with the celebrities they're hanging with the jailbirds in prison.
  • A slew of Harley's were parked outside, a couple bikers hanging outside the open door to the saloon.
  • I turned away from him and took out a cigarette that I slipped from my mom, I have never smoked, but hanging with this guy made you want to.
2 (past hanged) [with object] Kill (someone) by tying a rope attached from above around the neck and removing the support from beneath (used as a form of capital punishment): he was hanged for murder she hanged herself in her cell
More example sentences
  • He was grabbed from the arresting officer by a gang of masked men who tied a rope around his neck and hanged him.
  • The most the state can do to you is lock you away for the rest of your life, or hang you by the neck until you are dead.
  • The kidnappers drove to an abandoned farmhouse on the outskirts of the city where they tied a rope around the neck of their captive and hanged him from a locust tree.
string up, send to the gallows
2.1 [no object] Be killed by hanging: both men were sentenced to hang
More example sentences
  • They just sentenced this woman to hang for killing her boyfriend, who she says routinely abused her.
  • In 1945, he was sentenced to hang for treason.
  • He became the last man sentenced to hang by Bedford Assizes and was executed in the town's prison on April 4, 1962.
2.2 dated Used in expressions as a mild oath: [no object]: they could all go hang [with object]: I’m hanged if I know
More example sentences
  • I’m hanged if I know what to say when I get there.
  • I wear whatever I want whenever I want and they can all go hang.
  • At the country house, David tells the O'Briens that he's hanged if he knows what's got into Beryl.
3 [no object] Remain static in the air: a haze of smoke hung below the ceiling
More example sentences
  • The cigarette smoke hung like a thick bluish white haze throughout the room.
  • Smoke hung thickly all around, like a dense fog, only more suffocating.
  • On June 1, 1921 the smoke hung like a grey, acrid cloud over Greenwood.
3.1Be present or imminent, especially oppressively or threateningly: a sense of dread hung over him for days
More example sentences
  • With a shadow of imminent disaster hanging over their homeland, they now appear to be the lucky ones.
  • Last night's episode hung oppressively in the air between them.
  • Although he may feel this possibility is presently hanging over him, Jefferies appears prepared to allow his partnership with Boyd the necessary time to develop.
3.2 [with object] Baseball Deliver (a breaking pitch) that does not change direction as intended.
Example sentences
  • This season Wells has been reluctant to throw over the inner half of the plate, and his tendency to hang pitches has been costly.
  • His looping, often tardy swing makes solid contact against little other than hanging off-speed pitches.
  • Well, he hung a slider to me on the first pitch, and I missed it.
4 [with object] US (Of a juror) prevent (a jury) from reaching a verdict by a dissenting vote.
Example sentences
  • Whether it will be enough to hang the jury altogether on the issue of the penalty, I don't know.
  • If I were on that jury, I'd hang it.
  • It seems likely that not only would he have voted for acquittal, he would have been the lone holdout who hung the jury if necessary.
5 Computing Come or cause to come unexpectedly to a state in which no further operations can be carried out.
Example sentences
  • This article has all you need to know about issues with internal modems that may hang your system.
  • Click on help, a browser window opens, click on connect to Ethernet, and it hangs forever.
  • Upon reboot, however, the system hung at the Windows startup screen.


[in singular]
1A downward droop or bend: the bullish hang of his head
More example sentences
  • You could see it in the hang of his head. You could tell that new things confused him.
  • To all appearances he is an alpha-male professional in a bespoke suit, but the hang of his shoulders speaks of a disappointed man.
  • It was in his walk, the sling of his shoulders, the hang of his face.
1.1The way in which something hangs: the hang of one’s clothes
More example sentences
  • The side seams slant ever so slightly inwards creating a beautiful hang to the skirt.
  • Of late he has been paying furtive but detailed attention to his hair and his neckties and the hang of his clothes.
  • The hang of the dress is breathtaking.
1.2The way in which pictures are displayed in an exhibition.
Example sentences
  • Like the tapestries, and furniture, the picture hang was predominantly antique.
  • A new hang brings Rossetti's Proserpine out on display
  • Wednesday Jack arrives and is delighted with the hang.


In modern English, hang has two past tense and past participle forms: hanged and hung. Hung is the normal form in most general uses ( they hung out the wash; she hung around for a few minutes; he had hung the picture over the fireplace), but hanged is the form normally used in reference to execution by hanging ( she was hanged as a witch in April 1621).



get the hang of

informal Learn how to operate or do (something): it’s quite simple when you get the hang of it
More example sentences
  • Sushi-making isn't something you can get the hang of in a weekend.
  • He has learned to double-click, and is getting the hang of drag-and-drop.
  • It's fairly easy to get the hang of, so most people can feel comfortable right away.

hang by a thread

see thread.

hang fire

Delay or be delayed in taking action or progressing.
Example sentences
  • Two years ago the District Auditor had warned the council that they must get rid of surplus places, but they had hung fire, because of good schools like Newland, and the upheaval caused to children and staff.
  • I think everyone is hanging fire to see what happens.
  • She said: ‘People have been hanging fire from the outset of the disease to see what happens and because of the outbreak here it's not picking up.’

hang one's hat

North American informal Be resident.
Example sentences
  • Armed Forces Retirement Homes provide residents with much more than just a place to hang their hat.
  • He currently hangs his hat at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, where he conducts seminars on the War on Drugs for law enforcement officials.
  • Need a place to hang your hat in Manhattan, but lack the necessary means to make it happen?

hang heavily (or heavy)

(Of time) pass slowly.
Example sentences
  • Not only has the Secretary of State bought a new residence in Edinburgh, she has devised outrageously costly ways of passing the time that hangs heavily on her hands.
  • Time hangs heavy on the spooky Buffalo restaurant.
  • Sprinkle on toasted and chopped hazelnuts or walnuts if time hangs heavy.

hang in the air

Remain unresolved: the question that has been hanging in the air
More example sentences
  • However, there are questions that remain hanging in the air.
  • The question still hung in the air, unanswered, how do you stop them getting away with it?
  • Her question hangs in the air: ‘Who could want to do this?’

hang a left (or right)

informal, North American Make a left (or right) turn.
Example sentences
  • Then, because she was a tourist, we hung a left and headed down the narrow alley to the tourist zone, so she could find a postcard to send to my sister.
  • I hung a left somewhere and ended up on Cemetery Road.
  • As my foot dithered between brake and accelerator, a lorry hung a left across my path and a person in a wheelchair zipped down the other side.

hang loose

see loose.

hang someone out to dry

informal Leave someone in a difficult or vulnerable situation.
Example sentences
  • Can he file civil lawsuits against these three women who have been so accusatory and hung him out to dry?
  • People were afraid that the political leadership would hang them out to dry if they made a mistake.
  • If we make a mistake, they could be hung out to dry.

hang ten

Surfing Ride a surfboard with all ten toes curled over the board’s front edge.
Example sentences
  • I've pulled off hanging ten (for a second) on my little boards a couple times.
  • This exciting surfing ride gives the feeling of hanging ten on a Maui wave.
  • Walking the board is the first step to hanging ten.

hang tough

North American informal Be or remain inflexible or firmly resolved.
Example sentences
  • And when they were challenged in early April, they hung tough.
  • But otherwise, you know, she hung tough and he wasn't able to really break her down.
  • I'm lucky to have a wonderful wife who hates that we are apart right now but is hanging tough.

let it all hang out

informal Be very relaxed or uninhibited.
Example sentences
  • It is the end of yet another work week, so, it is time to let it all hang out, relax and have a couple of drinks.
  • Reflecting now on that degrading article, I have to accept that Carnival is no longer about freeing up and letting it all hang out.
  • A cast of any Shakespeare in the Park has, thanks to that marvellous ambiance, the luxury of letting it all hang out.

not care (or give) a hang

informal Not care at all: people just don’t give a hang about plants
More example sentences
  • As an atheist I don't give a hang if the Catholic church destroys itself tomorrow.
  • She didn't give a hang if I was clean or dirty.
  • I don't care a hang for reputation.

Phrasal verbs


hang around

1Loiter; wait around: undercover officers spent most of their time hanging around bars
More example sentences
  • So you don't believe in hanging around waiting for something big to come your way?
  • Some bored looking folks were hanging about as if waiting for a protest to happen.
  • I hang around, waiting for other parents or teachers to clear up the story for me.
loiter, linger, wait around, waste time, kill time, mark time, while away the/one's time, cool one's heels, twiddle one's thumbs;
frequent, be a regular visitor to, haunt
informal hang out in
2 (hang around with) Associate with (someone): he never hangs around with that gang
More example sentences
  • We're very pleased the police caught somebody and the fact that he went to court will make an example of him to the people he hangs around with.
  • The guy hangs around with very shady characters everywhere he goes.
  • She's been very canny about who she's been hanging around with and where she's been over the past few months.
associate, mix, keep company, socialize, fraternize, consort, rub elbows
informal hang out, run around, be thick, hobnob

hang back

Remain behind: Stephen hung back for fear of being seen
More example sentences
  • Crushing my second thoughts, I made my way down the stairs to the entrance hall, where I stopped, hanging back behind the corner of the wall.
  • Bella hung back behind the curtains, trying her best to calm herself.
  • Coach started speed drills and Liz hung back skating behind the guys.
2.1Show reluctance to act or move: they were hanging back, each unwilling to speak first
More example sentences
  • We also have quite a few contributors who like to hang back and give us something only when the spirit moves them.
  • While the police hung back, a brave fellow citizen rushed forward to pull the men into his car and drive them to the hospital, saving their lives.
  • I think I've not hung back in pointing out the deficiencies in funding that we've had and still have, over the years.

hang in

informal Remain persistent and determined in difficult circumstances: in the second half, we just had to hang in there
More example sentences
  • At least she's hung in there fighting for the principles Labor used to call foundational.
  • Swinford hung in doggedly and when they struck for a second goal, the gap was back to six points again.
  • It was close to being unplayable but I hung in well until my disappointing finish.

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.

hang something on

informal Attach the blame for something to (someone).
Example sentences
  • What he refused to do was hang the blame on any one individual.
  • But this conspiracy mongering didn't stick - there were no easy targets to hang the blame on this time.
  • I think his Party's treatment of him was despicable and if the leader of the party intends to hang the defeat on him that will be more despicable.

hang out

1(Of laundry) hang from a clothesline to dry.
Example sentences
  • Clean clothes were hanging out on washing lines in the gardens of houses.
  • They all provide shade, permit natural ventilation, and conceal air conditioning and washing hung out to dry.
  • I caught glimpses of the atriums those passageways opened onto, often with gardens, maybe statues, washing hanging out to dry.
2(Of a shirttail or other piece of clothing) protrude and hang loosely downward: with the front tucked in and the tail hanging out
More example sentences
  • He wore a light grey shirt, loosely hanging out and a pair of dark denim jeans.
  • He stood there, shirt hanging out, one hand holding a fag, the other sweeping the air as he described the fall of each wicket.
  • One day, it got stuck to my back and was hanging out the top of my pants.
3 informal Spend time relaxing or enjoying oneself: musicians hang out with their own kind
More example sentences
  • We're going spend two days just relaxing and hanging out in quiet and privacy.
  • Then again, what you really should be doing is hanging out outside and enjoying the weather.
  • With the Easter holidays just underway, school children are looking forward to two weeks of late morning lie-ins and afternoons spent hanging out with their friends.

hang together

1Make sense; be consistent: it helps the speech to hang together
More example sentences
  • His interpretation and speculation hang together, make sense, and are consistent with the sources.
  • That book might have been more fluffy than this one but at least it hung together and made some sense.
  • They want information that hangs together, that makes sense, that has some degree of order to it.
2(Of people) remain associated; help or support each other.
Example sentences
  • Travel and hospitality was a way of life among the Elizabethan Catholic nobility who hung together for mutual support.
  • It is too much to expect individuals to thwart the intentions of a closely knit, overwhelmingly dominating force which knows it must either hang together or be hanged together.
  • There are signs of the premiers now working together and hanging together, notwithstanding the traditional ‘divide and rule’ tactics of the Feds.

hang up

1Hang from a hook, hanger, etc. his good shirt’s ironed and hanging up
More example sentences
  • It's only 2pm now and my standard-issue jacket is already hanging up for the day on the hook in the bedsit.
  • Her favorite dress was hanging up perfectly pressed ready for her to put on.
  • Your jacket is hanging up on my bedroom door by the way!
2End a telephone conversation by cutting the connection.
Example sentences
  • The technician asks the person to carry out a simple test using the dialling buttons on their telephone and then hang up.
  • The phone rang and she answered it, holding a short conversation in Spanish before hanging up.
  • She quickly excused herself from her conversation, hanging up a moment later.
2.1 (hang up on) End a telephone conversation with (someone) by abruptly cutting the connection.
Example sentences
  • If she hadn't already been mad at me over our phone conversation, hanging up on her had certainly done the trick.
  • I studiously avoid poll takers waiting to ambush me at train stations and supermarkets, and I hang up on telephone surveys.
  • That's how the conversation ends; I just hang up on him as if our conversation held no importance to me.

hang up something

Hang something on a hook: a closet where he could hang up his clothes
More example sentences
  • I just followed the others through the front door and hung my backpack up on a hook.
  • He dragged out a punching bag and hung it up on a hook in the corner.
  • I slipped out of my dress and hung it up on a hook attached to the back of the door.
informal9.1 Cease or retire from the activity associated with the garment or object specified: he will soon have to hang up his referee’s whistle for good
More example sentences
  • But arguably, for the club's sake, he should have hung his boots up a few seasons ago.
  • Nick is looking forward to a great day and will probably hang his boots up after the match.
  • She has many more years of cutting, colouring and styling before she hangs up her scissors.


Old English hangian (intransitive verb), related to Dutch and German hangen, reinforced by the Old Norse transitive verb hanga.

  • To hang someone as a punishment was originally to crucify them. Later it came to involve using a rope, now the only sense in which the past form hanged is used. But in early times it was the only possibility: hung did not appear until the 16th century. The phrase to hang fire originates with the complex firing mechanism of the old flintlock pistol. A small quantity of gunpowder would be loaded into a metal hollow above the trigger, and when the trigger was released a spark from a flint would ignite the gunpowder, which in turn would ignite the main charge, causing it to explode and propel the shot out of the barrel. Sometimes the powder in the pan would fail to explode immediately, perhaps because it was damp, and merely smoulder, causing a delay in the firearm going off. When this happened it was said to hang fire. See also half. The hinge (Middle English) on which you hang a door is closely related to hang.

Words that rhyme with hang

bang, Battambang, bhang, clang, Da Nang, dang, fang, gang, harangue, kiang, Kuomintang, Kweiyang, Laing, Luang Prabang, meringue, Nanchang, Pahang, pang, parang, Penang, prang, Pyongyang, rang, sang, satang, Shang, shebang, Shenyang, slambang, slang, spang, sprang, Sturm und Drang, tang, thang, trepang, twang, vang, whang, Xizang, yang, Zaozhuang

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: hang

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