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1. to wait awhile. Hang on a minute. I need to talk to you. Hang on. Let me catch up with you.
2. to survive for awhile. I think we can hang on without electricity for a little while longer.
3. [for an illness] to linger or persist. This cold has been hanging on for a month. This is the kind of flu that hangs on for weeks.
4. be prepared for fast or rough movement. (Usually a command.) Hang on! The train is going very fast. Hang on! We're going to crash!
5. to pause in a telephone conversation. Please hang on until I get a pen. If you'll hang on, I'll get her.
(someone's) every word Cliché to listen closely or with awe to what someone says. I am hanging on your every word. Please go on. The audience hung on her every word throughout the speech.
hang on(to someone or something) and hold on (to someone or something)
1. Lit. to grasp someone or something. She hung on to her husband to keep warm. She sat there and hung on, trying to keep warm.
2. Fig. to detain someone or something. Please hang on to Tom if he's still there. I need to talk to him.
hang something on someone
Sl. to blame something on someone; to frame someone for something. (See also hang something on someone or something.) Don't try to hang the blame on me! The sheriff tried to hang the bank robbery on Jed.
hang something on someone or something
to drape or hook something on someone or something. (See also .) Hangthissign on Walter and see how he looks. Please hang this sign on the front door.
1. to hold on tightly Firefighters used to hang on to the back of the fire truck as it raced to a fire.
2. to wait Excuse me, wait a minute! Verna, can you hang on just a second? I'll be right back.
Usage notes: often used when you are talking on the telephone
3. to continue despite appearing as if the end is near That awful show has hung on for yet another year, although we can't imagine why or how.
1. hang on to. Cling tightly to something, retain, as in Hang on to those papers before they blow away. [Mid-1800s] Also see hang on to your hat.
2. Continue persistently, persevere, as in This cough is hanging on much longer than I expected, or He was hanging on, hoping business would improve when interest rates went down. This usage was sometimes embellished to hang on by one's eyelashes or eyebrows or eyelids , meaning "to persist at any cost." [Second half of 1800s]
3. Keep a telephone connection open, as in Please hang on, I'll see if he's in. [First half of 1900s]
4. Wait for a short time, be patient, as in Hang on, I'm getting it as fast as I can. [First half of 1900s]
5. Depend on, as in Our plans hang on their decision about the new park. [Colloquial; second half of 1900s]
6. Blame on, as in They'll try to hang that robbery on the same gang, but I don't think they'll succeed. [Colloquial; first half of 1900s]
7. hang one on. Get very drunk, as in Come on, let's go and hang one on. [Slang; mid-1900s] Also see the subsequent idioms beginning with hang on.
1. To affix or mount something to some place or fixture that holds it and prevents it from falling: Please hang your hats on the hooks of the coat rack. I hung the picture on the wall.
2. To cling tightly to something: The cat hung on to the draperies until I was able to get it down.
3. To wait for a short period of time: Hang on, would you? I'll be there in a moment.
4. To continue persistently; persevere: The family is hanging on despite financial problems.
5. To depend on something or someone for an outcome: My whole future could hang on the results of this test.
6. To blame something on someone, especially unfairly: We lost the game, but you can't hang that on me.