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!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email