hang·​er-on ˈhaŋ-ər-ˌȯn How to pronounce hanger-on (audio)
plural hangers-on
: one that hangs around a person, place, or institution especially for personal gain

Examples of hanger-on in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Even the ensemble’s array of desperate journalists, paparazzi and showbiz hangers-on avoids being irritating. Zachary Pincus-Roth, Washington Post, 8 Feb. 2024 But the proliferating lists of serious aspirants include governors, senators, and members of the House, in addition to various MAGA hangers-on. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, 28 Jan. 2024 The pop artist rose to fame by making striking screenprints from others’ photographs, assisted by young artists and hangers-on in a space aptly called the Factory. Byirina Ivanova, Fortune, 6 Jan. 2024 Mulligan plays Pamela, a quirky hanger-on of the Catton family. Emily Zemler, Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2023 With his niche celebrity burgeoning within the tech scene, Lee was never short of business suitors, hangers-on seeking success by association, and new acquaintances eager to exchange phone numbers and LinkedIn connections. Albert Samaha, Rolling Stone, 22 Oct. 2023 Many hangers-on were so hip that the famous artists imitated them, not the other way around. Ian Penman, The New Yorker, 16 Oct. 2023 There was no party in the studio — no flowing libations, no room full of hangers-on. Danielle Amir Jackson Malike Sidibe, New York Times, 11 Oct. 2023 At the debate, the familiar trappings were present — red, white and blue bunting, lights, cameras, hordes of press, hangers-on and opposition spokespeople, including Gov. Gavin Newsom — but the tension of a nomination up for grabs was notably absent. David Lauter, Los Angeles Times, 29 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hanger-on.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1542, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hanger-on was in 1542

Dictionary Entries Near hanger-on

Cite this Entry

“Hanger-on.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hanger-on. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


plural hangers-on
: one that hangs around a person, place, or institution in hope of personal gain
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