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(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!
(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!
I'm hanged if I know!
I have absolutely no idea! I'm hanged if I know how to fill out these tax forms!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
draw and quarter
1. To hang and dismember someone. This phrase can also be preceded by the word "hang," as in "hang, draw, and quarter." This criminal is to be drawn and quartered, so once they pull him from the gallows, he'll be dismembered.
2. To kill a prisoner by tying each limb to a horse and then sending each horse in a different direction. When he's drawn and quartered, the horses will pull his body apart in a gruesome scene.
3. By extension, to punish someone severely. This usage is hyperbolic. Oh, she'll be drawn and quartered when mom and dad find out that she ran off to New York.
might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb
One might as well commit a worse offense, since the punishment will remain the same. (In the past, theft of a sheep was punishable by death.) I've already blown most of my savings, so what's another $100? Might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.
To persist in a challenging situation. I know you're worried, but keep hanging in—the doctor will call soon.
Little thieves are hanged, but great ones escape.
Those who commit small crimes will face the full consequences of the law, but those who commit crimes on a huge scale will go unpunished. So some guy who holds up a liquor store with a gun because his family can't afford food gets 30 years in prison, but a wealthy CEO who robs millions of people of their pensions gets a few months of community service? I tell you, little thieves are hanged, but great ones escape.
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."
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.
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.
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.
Also, hang in there. Keep at something, persevere. For example, We decided to hang in until we had figured out why the experiment failed, or Hang in there! You'll soon catch on to the language. [Slang; mid-1900s]
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
I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lambor
I might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb
If someone says I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb or I might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, they mean that as they will suffer or be punished whatever they do, they are choosing to do something really bad. I knew I was going to get into trouble for being late as it was, so I figured I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb. Note: For a long time in the past in England, the penalty for sheep stealing was death.
(you, etc.) may/might as well be hanged/hung for a ˌsheep as (for) a ˈlamb(saying) if you are going to be punished for doing something wrong, whether it is a big or small thing, you may as well do the big thing: I’m already late but I’ll stay and have another drink. May as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb.In the past, the punishment for stealing farm animals such as sheep was death by hanging.
To persevere: The politician decided to hang in the campaign despite the negative comments in the press.
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.
hanged for a sheep (as well) as a lamb, (might) as well be
One might as well commit a great crime as a small one, since the punishment would be the same; also, do not stop at half-measures, but enjoy something to the fullest. This term comes from the times when both sheep and lamb were considered so valuable that the theft of either was punishable by death. “As good be hanged for an old sheep as a young lamb” appeared in both John Ray’s English Proverbs (1678) and James Kelly’s Scottish Proverbs (1721), and has persisted to the present day. See also in for a penny, in for a pound.