Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


verb, \ˈhaŋ\

Simple Definition of hang

  • : to attach or place something so that it is held up without support from below

  • : to decorate (a surface) by hanging something (such as a picture) on it

  • : to put (wallpaper) on a wall

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of hang

hung play \ˈhəŋ\ also hanged play \ˈhaŋd\ hanging play \ˈhaŋ-iŋ\

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to fasten to some elevated point without support from below :  suspend b :  to suspend by the neck until dead —often hanged in the past —often used as a mild oath <I'll be hanged> c :  to fasten so as to allow free motion within given limits upon a point of suspension <hang a door> d :  to adjust the hem of (a skirt) so as to hang evenly and at a proper height

  3. 2 :  to furnish with hanging decorations (as flags or bunting)

  4. 3 :  to hold or bear in a suspended or inclined manner <hung his head in shame>

  5. 4 :  to apply to a wall <hang wallpaper>

  6. 5 :  to display (pictures) in a gallery

  7. 6 :  to throw (as a curveball) so that it fails to break properly

  8. 7 :  to make (a turn) especially while driving <hang a right> <hung a quick U-turn — Tom Clancy>

  9. 8 :  base, found <something to hang our hopes on>

  10. intransitive verb
  11. 1 a :  to remain suspended or fastened to some point above without support from below :  dangle b :  to die by hanging —often hanged in the past <he hanged for his crimes> c :  to be connected as something relevant or related <thereby hangs a tale — Shakespeare>

  12. 2 :  to remain poised or stationary in the air <clouds hanging low overhead>

  13. 3 :  linger, persist

  14. 4 :  to be imminent :  impend <doom hung over the nation>

  15. 5 :  to fall or droop from a usually tense or taut position

  16. 6 :  depend <election hangs on one vote>

  17. 7 a (1) :  to take hold for support :  cling <she hung on his arm> (2) :  to keep persistent contact <dogs hung to the trail> (3) :  to maintain or continue holding a position <hang behind> (4) :  to stay even :  keep up —usually used with with <trying to hang with the leader> b :  to be burdensome or oppressive <time hangs on his hands>

  18. 8 :  to be uncertain or in suspense <the decision is still hanging>

  19. 9 :  to lean, incline, or jut over or downward

  20. 10 :  to be in a state of rapt attention <hung on her every word>

  21. 11 :  to fit or fall from the figure in easy lines <the coat hangs loosely>

  22. 12 :  to pass time idly or in relaxing or socializing <hanging at the beach> —often used with around or out <hung out with friends>

  23. 13 of a thrown ball :  to fail to break or drop as intended

hangable play \ˈhaŋ-ə-bəl\ adjective
hang fire
  1. 1 :  to be slow in the explosion of a charge after its primer has been discharged

  2. 2 :  delay, hesitate

  3. 3 :  to remain unsettled or unresolved

hang it up
  1. :  to cease an activity or effort

hang loose
  1. :  to remain calm or relaxed

hang one on
  1. 1 :  to inflict a blow on

  2. 2 slang :  to get very drunk

hang out to dry
  1. :  to subject to ruin by abandonment

hang one's hat
  1. 1 :  to situate oneself in (as a residence or place of employment)

  2. 2 :  to have or use as a source of support <need a career to hang my hat on>

hang ten
  1. :  to ride a surfboard with the toes of both feet turned over the front edge

hang tough
  1. :  to remain resolute in the face of adversity :  hang in

Usage Discussion of hang

For both transitive and intransitive senses 1b the past and past participle hung, as well as hanged, is standard. Hanged is most appropriate for official executions <he was to be hanged, cut down whilst still alive … and his bowels torn out — Louis Allen> but hung is also used <gave orders that she should be hung — Peter Quennell>. Hung is more appropriate for less formal hangings <by morning I'll be hung in effigy — Ronald Reagan>.

Examples of hang in a sentence

  1. He hung the painting on the wall.

  2. We hung paper lanterns from the trees.

  3. My grandmother used to hang the wash on a clothesline.

  4. A photograph of her family hangs on the wall.

  5. Several of her paintings are hanging in the Museum of Modern Art.

  6. Your coat is hanging in the closet.

  7. They plan to hang wallpaper in the hallway.

  8. He let his arm hang down into the water.

  9. They will hang him in the county jailhouse.

  10. He was hanged for his crimes.

Origin of hang

partly from Middle English hon, from Old English hōn, v.t.; partly from Middle English hangen, from Old English hangian, v.i. & v.t.; both akin to Old High German hāhan, v.t., to hang, hangēn, v.i. — more at cunctation

First Known Use: before 12th century




Simple Definition of hang

  • : the way in which something hangs

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of hang

  1. 1 :  the manner in which a thing hangs

  2. 2 :  declivity, slope; also :  droop

  3. 3 :  facility with or an understanding of something <can't get the hang of this>

  4. 4 :  a hesitation or slackening in motion or in a course

give a hang or care a hang
  1. :  to be the least bit concerned or worried

Examples of hang in a sentence

  1. the hang of a skirt

  2. <anyone foolish enough to ski that hang would end up with a broken neck>

Circa 1797

First Known Use of hang

circa 1797

HANG Defined for Kids



verb \ˈhaŋ\

Definition of hang for Students

hung \ˈhəŋ\ also hangedhanging

  1. 1 :  to fasten or be fastened to something without support from below <I helped Mom hang curtains.>

  2. 2 :  to kill or be killed by suspending (as from a gallows) by a rope tied around the neck

  3. 3 :  to cause to droop <The dog hung her head.>

hang around
  1. 1 :  to be or stay (somewhere) without doing much <They like to hang around the mall.>

  2. 2 :  to pass time without doing much <We hung around until dark.>

hang on
  1. 1 :  to hold or grip something tightly

  2. 2 :  to wait or stop briefly <I'm busy. Can you hang on a minute?>

  3. 3 :  to be determined or decided by <The decision hangs on one vote.>

hang out
  1. :  to pass time without doing much

hang up
  1. 1 :  to place on a hook or hanger

  2. 2 :  to end a telephone connection




Definition of hang for Students

  1. 1 :  the way in which a thing hangs <The skirt has a graceful hang.>

  2. 2 :  skill to do something <I got the hang of skating.>

Law Dictionary



Legal Definition of hang

hung also hangedhanging

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to suspend by the neck until dead especially as a form of execution —often hanged in the past tense

  3. intransitive verb
  4. 1 :  to die by hanging —often hanged in the past tense <he hanged for his crimes>

  5. 2 :  to be unable to reach a decision or verdict <the jury hung on 19 counts against [him] — Randall Samborn>

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up hang? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to manage or play awkwardly

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

soothe perplex disapprove reduce
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.