Monday, June 2, 2014

Word of the Week - Hang

A place at which I love to hang out...
Seascape by William Trost Richards, 1901

I looked this word up the other day to make sure "get the hang of it" would be an appropriate phrase to use in a book set in 1911--and discovered that there are a plethora of hang uses with surprising elements!

The one in question dates from 1834--and was a primarily American use of the word for a great many years.

But it was the verb usages that surprised me. The "teen slang" sense of hang that means "spend time" dates from 1951--which is about what I'd expect. But did you know that hang out is from 1811?? I had no idea it was so old! And hang around, meaning "idle, loiter," is from 1830. Another one that was way older than I thought!

3 comments:

  1. And I imagine "hang by the neck until dead" would be several centuries old (and potentially original context for "hang around"? I mean, they're not going anywhere . . . )

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    Replies
    1. LOL. That definition of "hang" dates from Old English...though apparently it was originally only used of crucifixion.

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  2. DEFINITELY older than I would have thought. Thanks for filling me in, friend :)

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