\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

But a nagging question has been hanging over the industry: Would banks, taking their cue from rising economic optimism and a friendlier White House, significantly increase their lending to businesses and households? Emily Flitter, New York Times, "Bank Earnings Climb in Growing Economy, but Lending Doesn’t Keep Pace," 13 July 2018 The trailer was completely dismantled and partially hung over the bridge. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "18-wheeler carrying produce overturns in NE Houston," 13 July 2018 That is definitely true for The Handmaid’s Tale, as the looming power of Gilead hangs over every moment of the streaming drama. refinery29.com, "The Handmaid’s Tale," 13 July 2018 Yerry Mina's stoppage time equaliser in that game pushed the odds back to 6/1, while England were then briefly at an enormous 20/1 after Jordan Henderson missed in the penalty shootout meant that the team's chances suddenly were hanging by a thread. SI.com, "Timeline of Hope and Glory: How England's Odds of Winning the World Cup Have Changed in 6 Months," 11 July 2018 The sign that hangs from the back of the bus reads: criminals and rapists aboard this bus. Sadia Hassan, Longreads, "Silence is a Lonely Country: A Prayer in Twelve Parts," 13 July 2018 The 5,000-square-foot space used to be a storage warehouse, evidenced by the heavy rusted chains that hang from the 18-foot high ceilings. Lara Korte, WSJ, "New York Sees Boom in Craft Breweries, With More on Tap," 12 July 2018 The determined mom had a gastric balloon and gastric bypass and lost more than half her body weight over 12 months, but was left with rolls of skin that hung to her knees. Fox News, "Woman who lost 252 pounds rejected on Tinder after sending pics of her excess skin," 10 July 2018 When Xiaomi finished its first day of trading Monday, the company was worth only $48 billion, weakness that could hang over the rest of the Chinese tech players waiting to go public. Alexandra Stevenson, BostonGlobe.com, "Xiaomi’s weak IPO raises doubts about China’s tech boom," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Perfecting each one is just as challenging as nailing your first flawless hang clean. Tres Dean, GQ, "The Best Martial Arts for Getting Anderson Silva-Ripped," 13 June 2018 First time Derby-goers Sarah and Steve Reuss seemed to already have the hang of the infield spirit. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "Celebs and fashion flood Churchill Downs despite record rain at Kentucky Derby," 5 May 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

4 Oct 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

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a generally accepted meaning of a word

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