hang-on

[ hang-on, -awn ]
/ ˈhæŋˌɒn, -ˌɔn /
Informal.

noun

something easily attached to or mounted on another surface or object, as a turbocharger or transceiver in an automobile, a unit suspendable from shelving, or a portable soap dish.

adjective

pertaining to or denoting such an attachment: A clumsy hang-on unit supplied the air conditioning.

Origin of hang-on

noun, adj. use of verb phrase hang on

Definition for hang on (2 of 2)

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 forms

Can be confused

hang 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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for hang on (1 of 2)

hang on

verb (intr)

(adverb) to continue or persist in an activity, esp with effort or difficultyhang on at your present job until you can get another
(adverb) to cling, grasp, or holdshe hangs on to her mother's arm
(preposition) to be conditioned or contingent on; depend oneverything hangs on this business deal
Also: hang onto, hang upon (preposition) to listen attentively toshe hung on his every word
(adverb) informal to wait or remainhang on for a few minutes

British Dictionary definitions for hang on (2 of 2)

hang

/ (hæŋ) /

verb hangs, hanging or hung (hʌŋ)


noun

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

Idioms and Phrases with hang on

hang on

1

hang on to. Cling tightly to something, retain, as in Hang on to those papers before they blow away. [Mid-1800s] Also see hang on to your hat.


2

Continue persistently, persevere, as in This cough is hanging on much longer than I expected, or He was hanging on, hoping business would improve when interest rates went down. This usage was sometimes embellished to hang on by one's eyelashes or eyebrows or eyelids, meaning “to persist at any cost.” [Second half of 1800s]

3

Keep a telephone connection open, as in Please hang on, I'll see if he's in. [First half of 1900s]

4

Wait for a short time, be patient, as in Hang on, I'm getting it as fast as I can. [First half of 1900s]

5

Depend on, as in Our plans hang on their decision about the new park. [Colloquial; second half of 1900s]

6

Blame on, as in They'll try to hang that robbery on the same gang, but I don't think they'll succeed. [Colloquial; first half of 1900s]

7

hang one on. Get very drunk, as in Come on, let's go and hang one on. [Slang; mid-1900s] Also see the subsequent idioms beginning with hang on.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.