verb (used with object), hung or especially for 4, 5, 20, hanged; hang·ing.
- to exhibit (a painting or group of paintings): The gallery hung his paintings in a small corner.
- to put the paintings of (an art exhibition) on the wall of a gallery: They hung the show that morning.
verb (used without object), hung or especially for 24, hanged; hang·ing.
- to be exhibited: His works hang in most major museums.
- to have one's works on display: Rembrandt hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
- loss of way due to adverse wind or current.
- a rake, as of a mast.
- to spend time in a certain place or in certain company: He hangs around with an older crowd.
- to linger about; loiter: They had stopped working and were just hanging around to talk.
- to be reluctant to proceed or move forward: The older pupils went straight to the podium, but the younger ones hung back out of shyness.
- to refrain from taking action; hesitate: A forward pass would have been the best call, but the quarterback hung back because his last pass had been intercepted.
- to hold fast; cling to.
- to continue with effort; persevere: If you can hang on for a month longer, you will be eligible for the bonus.
- to be sustained to the point of danger, tedium, etc.: coughs that hang on for months.
- to keep a telephone line open: Hang on, I'll see if she's here.
- to wait briefly; keep calm.
- to lean or be suspended through an opening.
- Informal.to frequent a particular place, especially in idling away one's free time: to hang out in a bar.
- Informal.to loiter in public places: nothing to do on Saturday night but hang out.
- Informal.to consort or appear in public with: Who's she been hanging out with?
- Slang.to calm down: Hang out, Mom, I'm OK.
- to wait, especially briefly: Hang out a minute while I get my backpack.
- to suspend in open view; display: to hang out the flag.
- to remain to be settled; be postponed: They will probably let the final decision hang over until next year.
- to be imminent or foreboding; threaten: Economic ruin hangs over the town.
- to suspend by placing on a hook, peg, or hanger.
- to cause or encounter delay; suspend or slow the progress of: The accident hung up the traffic for several hours.
- to break a telephone connection by replacing the receiver on the hook: She received an anonymous call, but the party hung up when she threatened to call the police.
- to cause a hang-up or hang-ups in: The experience hung her up for years.
- to hit: He hung one on the bully and knocked him down.
- to become extremely drunk: Every payday he hangs one on.
- to be loyal to one another; remain united: “We must indeed all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”
- to cohere: This pancake batter doesn't hang together.
- to be logical or consistent: His version of the story does not hang together.
- to be completely candid in expressing one's feelings, opinions, etc.: She's never been one to let it all hang out.
- to act or live without restraint or inhibitions.
Origin of hang
verb hangs, hanging or hung (hʌŋ)
- to be delayed
- to procrastinateSee also fire (def. 16)
- to understand the technique of doing something
- to perceive the meaning or significance of
Word Origin for hang
a fusion of Old English hon "suspend" (transitive, class VII strong verb; past tense heng, past participle hangen), and Old English hangian (weak, intransitive, past tense hangode) "be suspended;" also probably influenced by Old Norse hengja "suspend," and hanga "be suspended." All from Proto-Germanic *khang- (cf. Old Frisian hangia, Dutch hangen, German hängen), from PIE *kank- "to hang" (cf. Gothic hahan, Hittite gang- "to hang," Sanskrit sankate "wavers," Latin cunctari "to delay;" see also second element in Stonehenge). As a method of execution, in late Old English (but originally specifically of crucifixion).
Hung emerged as past participle 16c. in northern England dialect, and hanged endured only in legal language (which tends to be conservative) and metaphors extended from it (I'll be hanged). Teen slang sense of "spend time" first recorded 1951; hang around "idle, loiter" is from 1830, and hang out (v.) is from 1811. Hang fire (1781) was originally used of guns that were slow in communicating the fire through the vent to the charge. To let it all hang out "be relaxed and uninhibited" is from 1967.
late 15c., "a sling," from hang (v.). Meaning "a curtain" is from c.1500; that of "the way cloth hangs" is from 1797. To get the hang of (something) "become capable" is from 1834, American English. Perhaps originally in reference to a certain tool or feat, but, if so, its origin has been forgotten. It doesn't seem to have been originally associated with drapery or any other special use of hang.
'To get the hang of a thing,' is to get the knack, or habitual facility of doing it well. A low expression frequently heard among us. In the Craven Dialect of England is the word hank, a habit; from which this word hang may perhaps be derived. [John Russell Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," New York, 1848]
Be reluctant to move ahead, hold back. For example, They hung back at the entrance, fearful that they wouldn't be admitted, or We hung back to let our parents go in first. [Second half of 1500s]