hang-up

or hang·up

[ hang-uhp ]
/ ˈhæŋˌʌp /

noun Slang.

a preoccupation, fixation, or psychological block; complex: His hang-up is trying to outdo his brother.
a source of annoying difficulty or burden; impediment; snag: The most serious hang-up the project has is a shortage of funds.
a fixture, object, or decoration that can be affixed to a wall, ceiling, other objects, etc.: He brightened up the room with flower baskets and other hang-ups.

Origin of hang-up

First recorded in 1955–60; noun use of verb phrase hang up

Definition for hang up (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 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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for hang up (1 of 2)

hang up

verb (adverb)

(tr) to put on a hook, hanger, etcplease hang up your coat
to replace (a telephone receiver) on its cradle at the end of a conversation, often breaking a conversation off abruptly
(tr; usually passive usually foll by on) informal to cause to have an emotional or psychological preoccupation or problemhe's really hung up on his mother

noun hang-up informal

an emotional or psychological preoccupation or problem
a persistent cause of annoyance

British Dictionary definitions for hang up (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 up

hang up

1

Suspend on a hook or hanger, as in Let me hang up your coat for you. [c. 1300]


2

Also, hang up on. Replace a telephone receiver in its cradle; end a phone conversation. For example, She hung up the phone, or He hung up on her. [Early 1900s]

3

Delay or hinder; also, become halted or snagged, as in Budget problems hung up the project for months, or Traffic was hung up for miles. [Second half of 1800s]

4

Have or cause to have emotional difficulties, as in Being robbed at gunpoint can hang one up for years to come. [Slang; early 1900s]

5

hung up on. Obsessed with, as in For years the FBI was hung up on Communist spies. [First half of 1900s]

6

hang up one's sword or gloves or fiddle. Quit, retire, as in He's hanging up his sword next year and moving to Florida. The noun in these expressions refers to the profession one is leaving—sword for the military, gloves for boxing, and fiddle for music—but they all are used quite loosely as well, as in the example.

7

hang up one's hat. Settle somewhere, reside, as in “Eight hundred a year, and as nice a house as any gentleman could wish to hang up his hat in” (Anthony Trollope, The Warden, 1855).

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