(intr, adverb often foll by from) to be reluctant to go forward or carry on (with some activity)
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
How to use hang back in a sentence
It's the same with every other family we see all week: the parents ask the questions and the children hang back, taking it all in.
The very excess of her eagerness alarmed her, and she began to hang back.The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, Volume XXI | Robert Louis Stevenson
Shall we, His children, hang back and thwart Him, just in the hour when He has put the victory in our hands?A Heroine of France | Evelyn Everett-Green
The lady, finding that her lover continues to hang back, dries her tears, and very properly gets married to another man.
He dashes across the river which separates the two armies, although his followers hang back.Beowulf | R. W. Chambers
When the horse found that he could not hang back, he bolted.Strange Stories of the Great Valley | Abbie Johnston Grosvenor
Other Idioms and Phrases with hang back
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]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.