verb \ ˈhaŋ \
|Updated on: 14 Jun 2018

Definition of hang

hung play \ˈhəŋ\ also hanged play \ˈhaŋd\; hanging play \ˈhaŋ-iŋ\
1 a : 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
1 a : 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
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
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 : to pass time idly or in relaxing or socializing
  • hanging at the beach
often used with around or out
  • hung out with friends
13 of a thrown ball : to fail to break or drop as intended


play \ˈhaŋ-ə-bəl\ adjective
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

hanged vs. hung

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.

Recent Examples of hang from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

hang Synonyms


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


settle, sink;

Near Antonyms

dive, lunge, plunge;

dip, immerse, submerge, submerse;

Related Words

bob, dangle, suspend;


balloon, raft;

HANG Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of hang for English Language Learners

  • : 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

HANG Defined for Kids



verb \ ˈhaŋ \

Definition of hang for Students

hung \ˈhəŋ\ also hanged; hanging
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




Definition of hang for Students

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.

Law Dictionary



legal Definition of hang

hung also hanged; hanging
: to suspend by the neck until dead especially as a form of execution often hanged in the past tense
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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soothing, mild, or foolish

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