Hang out with - what is the origin of this?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Curious about Language, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. Curious about Language Senior Member

    Australia, English
    Although extremely common in English, this phrasal verb's origin is not immediately obvious. If I had to guess I would say it relates to some reference to being hung (executed) with some one, and this obviously being a bad thing, hanging out with someone had a negative connotation which has disappeared over the years. However, I haven't been able to find any etymology for this idiom - if anyone out there has any idea, it would be much appreciated!
  2. anothersmith Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English, U.S.
  3. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
  4. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The OED doesn't offer any explanation for this usage. It is recorded as military slang in 1811 and was used by Dickens and George Eliot.
  5. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I don't think there's any particular reason to link it with "hang" = "execute": there are many other expressions (hang about/around, hang on etc) where "hang" = "spend time".

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