There are thousands of phrasal verbs in English, and they drive even the most advanced students crazy. You hang back when you want to be alone, but you hang up the phone. You hang together in a crisis, but you hang out on Saturday night. Ugh! 😩 In this post, you’re going to become an expert on nine commonly used phrasal verbs with hang. At the end, test your mastery with a short phrasal verbs quiz.
The phrasal verbs you will learn in this post are:
1. hang about
2. hang back
3. hang on
4. hang on (Second meaning alert! Eek!)
5. hang out (with someone)
6. hang over someone
7. hang together
8. hang something up
9. hang up
Phrasal Verb 1: HANG ABOUT
The first phrasal verb on this list is hang about. If you hang about, you wait or stay near a place, not doing very much.
Tabitha: When are you going to get off the couch and get a job? You can’t just hang about the house for months on end!
Phrasal Verb 2: HANG BACK
This is another commonly used phrasal verb. When someone hangs back, they remain in a place after all the other people have left.
Geoffrey: Are you coming with us?
Tom: You all go on ahead. I want to hang back and be alone with mom’s grave for a bit.
Phrasal Verb 3: HANG ON (1)
This phrasal verb has multiple meanings. In one sense, if you hang on, you hold something tightly, not letting go.
A common idiom with this phrasal verb is hang on for dear life. If you hang on for dear life, you hold something as tightly as possible.
Carla: Here’s his leash. Just hang on if he tries to run off. Don’t let him overpower you.
Bruce: Your grandmother thinks she’s a NASCAR driver! She was going 80 mph before we even got out of the neighborhood!
Kim: Hahahaha! I know. I hang on for dear life every time I’m in the car with her.
Phrasal Verb 4: HANG ON (2)
Hang on can also be used to ask someone to wait for a short time, often on the telephone.
Fiona: Is Dr. Pontworthy there?
Alice: She may have gone into a meeting, but I’m not sure. Hang on for a moment, please, while I check for you.
Phrasal Verb 5: HANG OUT (WITH SOMEONE)
You’ve probably heard this phrasal verb with hang because we use it all the time in conversation. When you hang out (with someone), you spend a lot of leisure time in a place (with someone).
Dan: Where’s Ahmed? I thought he was coming with us.
Sean: He’s hanging out at the skating rink with his kids tonight.
Phrasal Verb 6: HANG OVER SOMEONE
Have you ever felt something hanging over you? I have, and it’s not a great feeling. If something bad or unpleasant is hanging over you, you think about it or worry about it a lot because it is happening or might happen.
Jorge: Gina threatened to tell my wife about our affair. How am I supposed to relax with that hanging over me?
Don’t confuse this with another common word. A hangover is also unpleasant, but it’s not the same thing. A hangover refers to the headache and sick feeling that you have the day after drinking too much alcohol.
Lee: I’m thinking of calling out sick today. I’ve got the mother of all hangovers.
Phrasal Verb 7: HANG TOGETHER
Unlike the last phrasal verb, this one has a good feeling to it! When people hang together, they support and help one another, especially in difficult circumstances.
Christina: I’m tremendously proud of the way our community has hung together through these floods. Even as many of you were losing your homes, you were doing everything you could to help your neighbors.
Phrasal Verb 8: HANG SOMETHING UP
If you hang something up, you finish using something for the last time.
This phrasal verb features in another common idiom in English! If someone hangs up their spurs, they stop doing something or retire from something. Oftentimes, a man will use this idiom when he decides to stop chasing women and settle down with one woman, usually intending to stay with her for the rest of his life.
Alan: We suspect he will hang up his skis after this Olympics. He’s had multiple knee surgeries, and he’s not getting any younger.
Martha: You’re a handsome guy. I bet you had your fair share of girlfriends in your day!
Adrian: I didn’t mind chasing a skirt or two, that’s for sure, but I hung up my spurs when I met Juanita.
Phrasal Verb 9: HANG UP
Hang up is also a common phrasal verb related to phone calls. If you hang up, you end a telephone conversation by putting the telephone receiver down or switching the telephone off.
Similarly, when you hang up on someone, you abruptly end a telephone conversation, before the conversation properly ends. Hanging up on someone is almost always considered rude, so most people only do it when they’re angry. (Unless, I suppose, you urgently need to go because you’re in an emergency situation.)
Glen: It was great chatting with you, but I’m going to need to hang up now. I’ve got to take the dog outside.
Sara: No worries, I’ve got to get going myself. Take care!
Wanda: I just hung up with the plumber. He’ll be over to look at our faucets tomorrow morning.
Brad: Sonia just hung up on me!
Ashleigh: I’m not surprised. You were screaming at her!
Phrasal Verbs Quiz
It’s phrasal verbs practice time! Take this phrasal verbs quiz to see how well you remember these nine commonly used phrasal verbs with hang.