hang·​over ˈhaŋ-ˌō-vər How to pronounce hangover (audio)
: something (such as a surviving custom) that remains from what is past
: disagreeable physical effects following heavy consumption of alcohol or the use of drugs
: a letdown following great excitement or excess

Did you know?

The effects of hangovers have been hanging around for ages. The word itself, however, has only been fermenting since the late 19th century. Originally, hangover described someone or something that remained or simply survived, but it was later distilled into common use as a word for the effects of overconsumption of alcohol or drugs. These days, hangover can also suggest an emotional letdown or an undesirable prolongation of notes or sounds from a loudspeaker.

Example Sentences

She woke up with a hangover.
Recent Examples on the Web Hot Browns First created at Louisville's famed Brown Hotel in the 1920s (some say as a hangover cure) the Hot Brown is The iconic sandwich of Kentucky. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, 1 Mar. 2023 Many of us are familiar with the experience that is waking up with a particularly bad hangover, the result of too many sugary mixed drinks at a college party or perhaps too many spiked eggnogs at an office holiday party. Austin Harvey, Discover Magazine, 29 June 2022 The Hurricanes did not have any hangover after Friday night’s shutout loss to Notre Dame. Adam Lichtenstein, Sun Sentinel, 21 May 2022 Instead, opt for healthier and safer hangover cures. Dr. Michael Daignault, USA TODAY, 5 May 2022 What seemingly counted far more—and this may be a hangover from the importance of statewide reactions to the pandemic—was the popularity of individual governors and other local factors. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 9 Feb. 2023 Runoff elections are a hangover from Jim Crow-era laws meant to diminish the influence of Black politicians who could more easily win in a multicandidate race with a plurality of the vote. Lisa Lerer, New York Times, 10 Nov. 2022 Her Loss, his new album, billed as a collaboration with Atlanta rapper 21 Savage, is a hangover from the club nights of the previous project, a speedy retreat into calculated cool-hunting and passive-aggressive aristocrat rap. Craig Jenkins, Vulture, 8 Nov. 2022 The industry is suffering from a unique combination of circumstances — a pandemic hangover, the war in Ukraine, historic inflation and supply-chain disruptions — that have made the slump much worse than a regular cyclical downturn. Sohee Kim, Fortune, 29 Jan. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1894, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hangover was in 1894


Dictionary Entries Near hangover

Cite this Entry

“Hangover.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hangover. Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


hang·​over ˈhaŋ-ˌō-vər How to pronounce hangover (audio)
: something (as a surviving custom) that remains from what is past
: a sick uncomfortable state that comes from drinking too many drinks of alcoholic beverage

Medical Definition


hang·​over -ˌō-vər How to pronounce hangover (audio)
: disagreeable physical effects (as headache or nausea) following heavy consumption of alcohol or the use of drugs
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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