Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

(well,) I'll be hanged!

An expression of surprise or astonishment, especially regarding some recent revelation. Bob: "You know, if you run your washing machine at night you can save a lot of money on your electric bill." John: "I'll be hanged, I never knew that before!" Well, I'll be hanged! Who knew so many people would show up to see our concert?

I'll be hanged if I (do something)

I am determined not to do something. I'll be hanged if I let some young upstart like you take control of my company!
See also: hanged, if

(I'll be) hanged if I know!

I have absolutely no idea! A: "How are you supposed to turn on this newfangled computer?" B: "Hanged if I know!" I'll be hanged if I know how to fill out these tax forms!
See also: hanged, if

I'm hanged if I know!

I have absolutely no idea! I'm hanged if I know how to fill out these tax forms!
See also: hanged, if

hang by the eyelids

To have a loose grip on something. Can be used either literally or figuratively. For the tug-of-war, don't just hang by the eyelids, gentlemen! Really get a secure grip on the rope and keep a strong stance! I currently have a D in this class, but I'm just hanging by the eyelids—I really need to get a tutor.
See also: eyelid, hang

hang on (one's) sleeve

To be totally reliant on someone else. You're 30 years old, so stop hanging on your mother's sleeve and get a job already! I know my kids are too young to be self-sufficient, but sometimes I just need a night without anyone hanging on my sleeve.
See also: hang, on, sleeve

hang (up) (one's) hat

To live somewhere; to take up residence. I'm originally from the East Coast, but I hang my hat in San Francisco these days. I've been traveling around the world for so long that it feels strange to finally have a place to hang up my hat.
See also: hang, hat

hang up (one's) hatchet

1. To make peace with someone. It is most likely an earlier version of the phrase "bury the hatchet." Can you please hang up your hatchet and make up with your sister already? I can't take the constant fighting.
2. To take a break from work; to stop working. Hang up your hatchet, buddy, it's lunchtime! It's really time for me to hang up my hatchet and find a new job somewhere else.
See also: hang, hatchet, up

hang up (one's) boots

To retire from playing a sport. After suffering so many injuries on the field, I think it's time for him to hang up his boots.
See also: boot, hang, up

hang up (one's) fiddle

To retire from something. I've been at the company for 30 years, so it's time for me to hang up my fiddle.
See also: fiddle, hang, up

hang up (one's) spurs

To stop doing something; to retire from something. I've been at the company for 30 years, so it's time for me to hang up my spurs. You're an adult now, and you can't stay out all weekend—it's time to hang up your spurs and ditch the party scene.
See also: hang, spur, up

If you're born to be hanged, then you'll never be drowned.

Prov. If you escape one disaster, it must be because you are destined for a different kind of disaster. (Sometimes used to warn someone who has escaped drowning against gloating over good luck.) When their ship was trapped in a terrible storm, Ellen told her husband that she feared they would die. "Don't worry," he replied with a yawn, "if you're born to be hanged, then you'll never be drowned."
See also: born, drown, if, never

Little thieves are hanged, but great ones escape.

Prov. Truly expert criminals are never caught. Everyone's making such a fuss because they convicted that bank robber, but he must not have been a very dangerous criminal. Little thieves are hanged, but great ones escape.
See also: but, escape, great, little, one, thief

I might as well be hanged/hung for a sheep as a lamb.

something that you say when you are going to be punished for something so you decide to do something worse because your punishment will not be any more severe
Usage notes: In the past, people who stole lambs were killed, so it was worth stealing something more because there was no worse punishment.
I'm going to be late for work anyway, so I think I'll go to the shop for a paper. I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.
See also: hanged, lamb, might, sheep, well

draw and quarter

Punish severely, as in Mom'll draw and quarter me if even one scratch appears on her new car. This expression alludes to two brutal forms of execution practiced in the past. In one the victim was drawn by a horse to a gallows, hanged, and then cut into four pieces and scattered; in the other the victim was hanged, disemboweled while still alive ( drawn), and then beheaded and dismembered. In both the victim was said to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. Today the term is usually used hyperbolically.
See also: and, draw, quarter

hanged for a sheep as a lamb, might as well be

Might just as well be punished for a big misdeed as a small one. For example, I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb and have a third piece of cake-I've gone off my diet anyhow . Already a proverb in John Ray's 1678 collection, this expression alludes to the old punishment for stealing sheep, which was hanging no matter what the age or size of the animal.
See also: hanged, might, sheep, well

I'll be hanged

1. I am very surprised, as in, Well, I'll be hanged; there's Susan.
2. I'll be hanged if I. Under no circumstances will I, as in I'll be hanged if I let you do that. Both of these hyperbolic colloquial usages allude to being executed by hanging.
See also: hanged

draw and quarter

1. To execute (a prisoner) by tying each limb to a horse and driving the horses in different directions.
2. To disembowel and dismember after hanging.
3. Informal To punish severely: The teenager was drawn and quartered for wrecking the family's only car.
See also: and, draw, quarter
References in periodicals archive ?
Two death row prisoners were hanged in Kot Lakhpat jail.
Mohammad Talha will be hanged on January 15 in Sukkur Jail.
In another incident, Riyas Babu, 23, hanged himself from a tree in Al Sarooj District on Thursday morning.
Brian Chandler was the last person hanged in Durham.
His best friend David Dilling, of Pyle, hanged himself six weeks later on February 18, 2007, from a tree behind Pyle police station.
The following month, 19-year-old David Dilling was found hanged near his home in Pyle, Bridgend.
Peter Patterson, aged 74, was hanged at Morpeth in 1761 for taking part in a riot.
LANCASTER - The 11-year-old girl who accidentally hanged herself while playing a prank on her siblings Saturday evening has been identified as Honesty Spencer.
When Miss Lena came home from visiting her sister in Jackson and found out Bobby Lee Carter had hanged a man from her sycamore tree, she left the breakfast dishes unwashed in the sink for the first time in her life.
The Hanging Garden is the story of a gay man named Sweet William who may or may not have, as an unhappy 15 year-old, hanged himself in the garden behind his Nova Scotia home.
In February, seventy-four men were hanged at Carlisle.
They bound his hands and feet with straps, carefully knotted a rope under his jaw, sprang the trap door on which he stood, and hanged him by his neck until he was dead.
LAHORE -- Seven death row prisoners including son and father were hanged in different jails at Punjab early Wednesday morning.
IRAN hanged 21 men yesterday in the latest round of group executions, state media reported.
THE last man to be hanged in Newcastle Prison met his end at 9.