Idioms

    hang a left/right, Slang. to make a left (or right) turn, as while driving an automobile: Hang a right at the next corner.
    hang five, to ride a surfboard with the weight of the body forward and the toes of the forward foot curled over the front edge of the surfboard.
    hang in the balance, to be in a precarious state or condition: The wounded man's life hung in the balance.
    hang it up, Informal. to quit, resign, give up, etc.: The chief engineer is hanging it up after 40 years with the company.
    hang loose, Slang. to remain relaxed or calm: Try to hang loose and don't let it bother you.
    hang one on, Slang.
    1. to hit: He hung one on the bully and knocked him down.
    2. to become extremely drunk: Every payday he hangs one on.
    hang one's head. head(def 66).
    hang ten, to ride a surfboard with the weight of the body as far forward as possible and the toes of both feet curled over the front edge of the surfboard.
    hang together,
    1. to be loyal to one another; remain united: “We must indeed all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”
    2. to cohere: This pancake batter doesn't hang together.
    3. to be logical or consistent: His version of the story does not hang together.
    hang tough, Slang. to remain unyielding, stubborn, or inflexible: He's hanging tough and won't change his mind.
    let it all hang out, Slang.
    1. to be completely candid in expressing one's feelings, opinions, etc.: She's never been one to let it all hang out.
    2. to act or live without restraint or inhibitions.

Origin of hang

before 900; fusion of 3 verbs: (1) Middle English, Old English hōn to hang (transitive), cognate with Gothic hāhan, orig. *haghan; (2) Middle English hang(i)en, Old English hangian to hang (intransitive), cognate with German hangen; (3) Middle English henge < Old Norse hengja (transitive), cognate with German hängen to hang
Related formshang·a·ble, adjectivehang·a·bil·i·ty, nounre·hang, verb (used with object), re·hung or re·hanged, re·hang·ing.un·der·hang, verb, un·der·hung, un·der·hang·ing.un·hanged, adjective
Can be confusedhang lynch (see synonym study at the current entry)hanged hung (see usage note at the current entry)

Synonym study

4. Hang, lynch have in common the meaning of “to put to death,” but lynching is not always by hanging. Hang, in the sense of execute, is in accordance with a legal sentence, the method of execution being to suspend by the neck until dead. To lynch, however, implies the summary putting to death, by any method, of someone charged with a flagrant offense (though guilt may not have been proved). Lynching is done by private persons, usually a mob, without legal authority. 26. depend, rely, rest, hinge.

Usage note

Hang has two forms for the past tense and past participle, hanged and hung. The historically older form hanged is now used exclusively in the sense of causing or putting to death: He was sentenced to be hanged by the neck until dead. In the sense of legal execution, hung is also quite common and is standard in all types of speech and writing except in legal documents. When legal execution is not meant, hung has become the more frequent form: The prisoner hung himself in his cell.

loose

[loos]

adjective, loos·er, loos·est.

free or released from fastening or attachment: a loose end.
free from anything that binds or restrains; unfettered: loose cats prowling around in alleyways at night.
uncombined, as a chemical element.
not bound together: to wear one's hair loose.
not put up in a package or other container: loose mushrooms.
available for disposal; unused; unappropriated: loose funds.
lacking in reticence or power of restraint: a loose tongue.
lax, as the bowels.
lacking moral restraint or integrity; notorious for his loose character.
sexually promiscuous or immoral; unchaste.
not firm, taut, or rigid: a loose tooth; a loose rein.
relaxed or limber in nature: He runs with a loose, open stride.
not fitting closely or tightly: a loose sweater.
not close or compact in structure or arrangement; having spaces between the parts; open: a loose weave.
having few restraining factors between associated constituents and allowing ample freedom for independent action: a loose federation of city-states.
not cohering: loose sand.
not strict, exact, or precise: a loose interpretation of the law.
Sports.
  1. having the players on a team positioned at fairly wide intervals, as in a football formation.
  2. (of a ball, hockey puck, etc.) not in the possession of either team; out of player control.

adverb

in a loose manner; loosely (usually used in combination): loose-flowing.

verb (used with object), loosed, loos·ing.

to let loose; free from bonds or restraint.
to release, as from constraint, obligation, or penalty.
Chiefly Nautical. to set free from fastening or attachment: to loose a boat from its moorings.
to unfasten, undo, or untie, as a bond, fetter, or knot.
to shoot; discharge; let fly: to loose missiles at the invaders.
to make less tight; slacken or relax.
to render less firmly fixed; lessen an attachment; loosen.

verb (used without object), loosed, loos·ing.

to let go a hold.
to hoist anchor; get under way.
to shoot or let fly an arrow, bullet, etc. (often followed by off): to loose off at a flock of ducks.
Obsolete. to become loose; loosen.

Origin of loose

1175–1225; (adj.) Middle English los, loos < Old Norse lauss loose, free, empty; cognate with Old English lēas (see -less), Dutch, German los loose, free; (v.) Middle English leowsen, lousen, derivative of the adj.
Related formsloose·ly, adverbloose·ness, nouno·ver·loose, adjectiveo·ver·loose·ly, adverbo·ver·loose·ness, noun
Can be confusedloose loosen lose loss

Synonyms for loose

Antonyms for loose

1. bound. 10. chaste. 25. tighten.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for hang loose

loose

adjective

free or released from confinement or restraint
not close, compact, or tight in structure or arrangement
not fitted or fitting closelyloose clothing is cooler
not bundled, packaged, fastened, or put in a containerloose nails
inexact; imprecisea loose translation
(of funds, cash, etc) not allocated or locked away; readily available
  1. (esp of women) promiscuous or easy
  2. (of attitudes, ways of life, etc) immoral or dissolute
lacking a sense of responsibility or proprietyloose talk
  1. (of the bowels) emptying easily, esp excessively; lax
  2. (of a cough) accompanied by phlegm, mucus, etc
(of a dye or dyed article) fading as a result of washing; not fast
informal, mainly US and Canadian very relaxed; easy

noun

the loose rugby the part of play when the forwards close round the ball in a ruck or loose scrumSee scrum
on the loose
  1. free from confinement or restraint
  2. informalon a spree

adverb

  1. in a loose manner; loosely
  2. (in combination)loose-fitting
hang loose informal, mainly US to behave in a relaxed, easy fashion

verb

(tr) to set free or release, as from confinement, restraint, or obligation
(tr) to unfasten or untie
to make or become less strict, tight, firmly attached, compact, etc
(when intr, often foll by off) to let fly (a bullet, arrow, or other missile)
Derived Formsloosely, adverblooseness, noun

Word Origin for loose

C13 (in the sense: not bound): from Old Norse lauss free; related to Old English lēas free from, -less

hang

verb hangs, hanging or hung (hʌŋ)

to fasten or be fastened from above, esp by a cord, chain, etc; suspendthe picture hung on the wall; to hang laundry
to place or be placed in position as by a hinge so as to allow free movement around or at the place of suspensionto hang a door
(intr sometimes foll by over) to be suspended or poised; hovera pall of smoke hung over the city
(intr sometimes foll by over) to be imminent; threaten
(intr) to be or remain doubtful or unresolved (esp in the phrase hang in the balance)
(past tense and past participle hanged) to suspend or be suspended by the neck until dead
(tr) to fasten, fix, or attach in position or at an appropriate angleto hang a scythe to its handle
(tr) to decorate, furnish, or cover with something suspended or fastenedto hang a wall with tapestry
(tr) to fasten to or suspend from a wallto hang wallpaper
to exhibit (a picture or pictures) by (a particular painter, printmaker, etc) or (of a picture or a painter, etc) to be exhibited in an art gallery, etc
to fall or droop or allow to fall or droopto hang one's head in shame
(of cloth, clothing, etc) to drape, fall, or flow, esp in a specified mannerher skirt hangs well
(tr) to suspend (game such as pheasant) so that it becomes slightly decomposed and therefore more tender and tasty
(of a jury) to prevent or be prevented from reaching a verdict
(past tense and past participle hanged) slang to damn or be damned: used in mild curses or interjectionsI'll be hanged before I'll go out in that storm
(intr) to pass slowly (esp in the phrase time hangs heavily)
hang fire
  1. to be delayed
  2. to procrastinateSee also fire (def. 16)
hang tough See tough (def. 10)

noun

the way in which something hangs
(usually used with a negative) slang a damnI don't care a hang for what you say
get the hang of informal
  1. to understand the technique of doing something
  2. to perceive the meaning or significance of

Word Origin for hang

Old English hangian; related to Old Norse hanga, Old High German hangēn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for hang loose

loose

adj.

early 13c., "not securely fixed;" c.1300, "unbound," from Old Norse lauss "loose, free, vacant, dissolute," cognate with Old English leas "devoid of, false, feigned, incorrect," from Proto-Germanic *lausaz (cf. Danish løs "loose, untied," Swedish lös "loose, movable, detached," Middle Dutch, German los "loose, free," Gothic laus "empty, vain"), from PIE *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart" (see lose). Meaning "not clinging, slack" is mid-15c. Meaning "not bundled" is late 15c. Sense of "unchaste, immoral" is recorded from late 15c. Meaning "at liberty, free from obligation" is 1550s. Sense of "rambling, disconnected" is from 1680s. Figurative sense of loose cannon was in use by 1896, probably from celebrated image in a popular story by Hugo:

You can reason with a bull dog, astonish a bull, fascinate a boa, frighten a tiger, soften a lion; no resource with such a monster as a loose cannon. You cannot kill it, it is dead; and at the same time it lives. It lives with a sinister life which comes from the infinite. It is moved by the ship, which is moved by the sea, which is moved by the wind. This exterminator is a plaything. [Victor Hugo, "Ninety Three"]

Loose end in reference to something unfinished, undecided, unguarded is from 1540s; to be at loose ends is from 1807. Phrase on the loose "free, unrestrained" is from 1749 (upon the loose).

hang

v.

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.

hang

n.

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]

loose

v.

early 13c, "to set free," from loose (adj.). Meaning "to undo, untie, unfasten" is 14c. Related: Loosed; loosing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with hang loose

hang loose

Relax, take it easy, as in Just hang loose and it will all work out. [Slang; mid-1900s]

loose

In addition to the idioms beginning with loose

  • loose cannon
  • loose ends

also see:

  • at loose ends
  • break loose
  • cast loose
  • cut loose
  • footloose and fancy-free
  • hang loose
  • have a screw loose
  • on the loose
  • play fast and loose
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.