\ˈhaŋ \
hung\ ˈhəŋ \ also hanged\ ˈhaŋd \; hanging\ ˈhaŋ-​iŋ \

Definition of hang 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to fasten to some elevated point without support from below : suspend hang a picture on the wall

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

2 : to furnish with hanging decorations (such as flags or bunting) Hang the windows with velvet curtains. a room hung with streamers

3 : to hold or bear in a suspended or inclined manner hung his head in shame

4 : to apply to a wall hang wallpaper

5 : to display (pictures) in a gallery

6 baseball : to throw (a pitch, such as a curveball) so that it fails to break properly

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

8 : base, found something to hang our hopes on

intransitive verb

1a : to remain suspended or fastened to some point above without support from below : dangle

b : to die by being suspended by the neck often hanged in the past He hanged for his crimes.

c : to be connected as something relevant or related thereby hangs a tale— William Shakespeare

2 : to hover or remain stationary in the air clouds hanging low overhead

3 : linger, persist The thought hung in her mind for days.

4 : to be imminent : impend doom hung over the nation

5 : to fall or droop from a usually tense or taut position let the reins hang loose on the horse's back Their mouths hung open in disbelief.

6 : depend election hangs on one vote

7a(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

8 : to be uncertain or in suspense the decision is still hanging

9 : to lean, incline, or jut over or downward a rocky cliff that hangs overhead

10 : to be in a state of rapt attention hung on her every word

11 : to fit or fall from the figure in easy lines the coat hangs loosely

12 informal : to pass time idly or in relaxing or socializing : hang around, hang out hanging with friends hanging at the beach Off the track, Jones was all but invisible in Sydney. She prefers hanging with her husband … and a small inner circle of friends.— Mark Starr I had the chance to hang with Taibbi recently after he spoke to a Denver audience about his new book …— David Sirota

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

hang fire

1 : to be slow in the explosion of a charge after its primer has been discharged

3 : to remain unsettled or unresolved The plans had to hang fire until the city council approved them.

hang it up

: to cease an activity or effort We all agreed it was time to hang it up.

hang loose

: to remain calm or relaxed

hang one on

1 : to inflict a blow on wanted to hang one on him

2 slang : to get very drunk

hang out to dry

: to leave stranded in a hopeless or dangerous situation The company hung us out to dry.

hang one's hat

1 : to situate oneself in a place (such as a residence or place of employment) looking for a new place to hang my hat

2 hang one's hat on : to have or use (something) as a source of support need a career to hang my hat on

hang ten

: to ride a surfboard with the toes of both feet turned over the front edge

hang tough

: to remain resolute in the face of adversity : hang in



Definition of hang (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the manner in which a thing is poised when suspended from above without support from below : the way in which a thing hangs (see hang entry 1) the hang of a skirt

2 : declivity, slope also : droop the hang of his lower lip

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

4 : a hesitation or slackening in motion or in a course a marked hang of the oar in the air before it dipped

give a hang or care a hang

: to be the least bit concerned or worried She doesn't give a hang whether she wins or not.

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Other Words from hang


hangable \ ˈhaŋ-​ə-​bəl \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for hang

Synonyms: Verb

drift, float, glide, hover, poise, ride, sail, swim, waft

Synonyms: Noun

declension, decline, declivity, descent, dip, downgrade, downhill, fall, hanging

Antonyms: Verb

settle, sink

Antonyms: Noun

acclivity, ascent, rise, upgrade, uphill, uprise

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Hanged vs. Hung: Usage Guide


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


He hung the painting on the wall. We hung paper lanterns from the trees. My grandmother used to hang the wash on a clothesline. A photograph of her family hangs on the wall. Several of her paintings are hanging in the Museum of Modern Art. Your coat is hanging in the closet. They plan to hang wallpaper in the hallway. He let his arm hang down into the water. They will hang him in the county jailhouse. He was hanged for his crimes.


the hang of a skirt anyone foolish enough to ski that hang would end up with a broken neck
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Colour-coded tags hang near the door to sort casualties: red for the most urgent cases, black for those beyond help. The Economist, "The fight against Islamic State is moving to Africa," 14 July 2018 For innovative products that provide help in challenging situations, consider a new spin on tablet cases, a mat that’s got your back (and feet and rump), an antidote to sun glare and a collapsible rack that turns any door into extra hanging space. Judi Dash, latimes.com, "This gear makes your world go round, flat, darker and spacier," 2 July 2018 So one of the reasons why the activists chose the driving issue — which is not the biggest issue — is that it was considered the lowest-hanging fruit. Karen Turner, Vox, "Women who fought to lift the women’s driving ban in Saudi Arabia are getting arrested," 25 May 2018 Some respond to uncertainty with drink or cigarettes, hang-gliding or hot yoga. Eric Boodman, STAT, "A career in biotech brought success. Then the birds came calling," 24 May 2018 Actor and producer Nick Loeb’s controversial Roe v. Wade movie is said to be hanging by a thread just a week after its public reveal made waves amid a heated debate over President Trump's Supreme Court pick. Tatiana Siegel, The Hollywood Reporter, "Amid Firestorm, Anti-Abortion 'Roe v. Wade' Film Still Seeks Financing," 12 July 2018 Japan carries out a few executions most years, always by hanging and almost always for murder. Alastair Gale, WSJ, "Japan Executes Leader of Doomsday Cult," 6 July 2018 Christian de Rocquigny, the French public prosecutor overseeing the case, confirmed to The New York Times and People that Bourdain’s cause of death was suicide by hanging. Jayme Deerwester, USA TODAY, "Anthony Bourdain leaves most of $1.2M estate to his daughter in will," 6 July 2018 Administrators at the Snohomish County Jail in Everett removed bedsheets after three inmates killed themselves in September 2014, two by hanging. Chad Sokol, The Seattle Times, "Spokane County Jail removing bedsheets, hiring suicide-prevention expert after 3 inmates hang themselves in a year," 1 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Inside, the skeleton of a great winged pteranodon hangs suspended from the ceiling. Eric Adler And Steve Vockrodt, kansascity, "After losing millions, can Prairiefire dinosaur museum in Johnson County evolve? | The Kansas City Star," 18 May 2018 And David Zwirner continues its 25th-anniversary celebration with a floor-to-ceiling, something-for-everyone hang of works by 50 artists. Roberta Smith, New York Times, "ADAA: A Fair to Remember Starts a Month of Art Show Madness," 1 Mar. 2018 But members of Congress didn’t really get the hang of using it until after rules for discharge petitions were revised in 1931 and 1935. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "The Old-School Trick That Finally Pushed the House to Move on Immigration," 13 June 2018 Maybe host a low-key summer hang with your friends. The Editors Of Gq, GQ, "Amazon Prime Day 2018: Everything You Need to Know," 3 July 2018 But her preternatural intelligence and subtlety as an actress are wasted on a character who never stops shouting her hang-ups from the rooftops. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "'Boundaries' takes the road all too quirkily traveled," 21 June 2018 Mesa police responded to a 911 hang-up call from a residential area near McKellips and Lindsay roads at about 5 p.m. Saturday, according to Mesa police spokesman Nikolas Rasheta. Bree Burkitt, azcentral, "Man found dead in house after police shooting in Mesa," 17 June 2018 The only potential hang-up: attendance issues become a long-term problem rather than a short-term one. Will Leitch, Daily Intelligencer, "Nobody’s Going to Sports in Person Anymore. And No One Seems to Care.," 11 July 2018 Getty Images Nobody ever said this Duchess thing would be easy, but Meghan Markle is starting to get the hang of the endless royal protocol. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Forgot Her "Duchess Slant"—Then Saved It at the Last Minute," 27 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hang.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hang


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


circa 1797, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hang


partly from Middle English hon, from Old English hōn, transitive verb; partly from Middle English hangen, from Old English hangian, intransitive verb & transitive verb; both akin to Old High German hāhan, transitive verb, to hang, hangēn, intransitive verb — more at cunctation


see hang entry 1

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Statistics for hang

Last Updated

1 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hang

The first known use of hang was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for hang



English Language Learners Definition of hang

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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



English Language Learners Definition of hang (Entry 2 of 2)

: the way in which something hangs


\ˈhaŋ \
hung\ ˈhəŋ \ also hanged; hanging

Kids Definition of hang

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

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

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

hang around

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

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

hang on

1 : to hold or grip something tightly

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

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

hang out

: to pass time without doing much

hang up

1 : to place on a hook or hanger

2 : to end a telephone connection



Kids Definition of hang (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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


hung also hanged; hanging

Legal Definition of hang 

transitive verb

: to suspend by the neck until dead especially as a form of execution often hanged in the past tense

intransitive verb

1 : to die by hanging often hanged in the past tense he hanged for his crimes

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

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Comments on hang

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


obstinately defiant of authority

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