strung up

redgiant

Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
Suppose a person jumped out a blazing air-balloon at 5000 feet and found himself hanging onto a rope over a bottomless chasm. He was dangling in the air, too tired to pull himself forward along the rope. Would you use "the person found himself strung up over a bottomless chasm" in the sense that he was hanging on the rope with no hope of survival?
 
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  • rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    I wouldn't say that. To string someone up means to hang him. The cowboys caught the rustlers and strung them up.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I would only use strung up in the sense that someone else strung him up.
    I would use your word dangling or suspended. However, this does not imply that he had no hope of survival. For that you would have to add without hope.
     

    redgiant

    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Thank you rhitagawr and e2efour~~ I think it's quite rare to see it used with a person in the literal sense (not the death sentence), unless someone is putting innocent/ unconscious people on the string for some ill reason.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    In the literal sense, a rope of the type that would naturally be in a hot air balloon is not a string. If there was some string on the balloon, you need to tell us that. :)
    (If the balloon is blazing (on fire), it does seem like a hopeless situation.)
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I've always considered "strung up" as a metaphor relating to fish that normally are hung on a "stringer."

    That's far removed from a hot-air balloon and the above comments are valid.

    As a side note, air does not burn and hot-air balloons have envelopes of fire-resistant fabric that certainly will not withstand a propane explosion, but it's usually the propane that's burning. (a fact usually ignored by clueless news reporters)
     
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