hang fire

hang fire

delay or be delayed in taking action or progressing

In the late 18th century, hang fire was used to refer to the action of a firearm that was slow in communicating the fire through the vent to the charge and so did not go off immediately.


get the hang of something

learn how to operate or do something – informal

1990 - Roddy Doyle - The Snapper - He was pretending to time them because he couldn't get the hang of the stop-watch Bertie'd got him.

hang by a thread

be in a highly precarious state

hang a left = hang a right

make a left (or right) turn - US informal

hang loose

be relaxed

refrain from taking anything too seriously - informal

hang of a = a hang of

to a very high degree

very great - South African informal

In this expression hang is probably being used as a euphemism for hell.

1945 - Frank Sargeson - When the Wind Blows – All this was because Charlie was hang of a funny to be with.

hang someone out to dry

leave someone in a difficult or vulnerable situation - informal

The image here is of hanging wet washing on a clothes line to dry. The idea of flapping uselessly or ineffectually like clothes drying in the wind is also behind the cricketing metaphor hanging your bat out to dry which dates from the late 19th century and means holding your bat away from your body at an ineffectual angle.

1998 - Spectator - We point out that another MP has been hung out to dry for failing to declare what was (relative to this) a minuscule interest.

hang tough

be or remain inflexible or firmly resolved - North American informal

1992 - Randall Kenan - Let the Dead Bury their Dead - Obviously, he intended to hang tough at first, but apparently Miss Jesse's psychic bullwhip lashed out and snap-crackled his brain.

hang up your boots

stop working

retire – informal

Boots are seen in this expression as part of a person's working clothes. A common Canadian variant is hang up your skates.

1997 - Farmers Weekly - The hard fact is that all farmers, whether the pension scheme is attractive or not, are, mostly, reluctant to hang their boots up.

hang your hat

be resident - North American informal

2001 - Kevin Sampson - Outlaws - End of the day though it ain't the Royal and that is where I want to hang my hat.

let it all hang out

be uninhibited or relaxed – informal

not care a hang = not give a hang

not care at all – informal

Hang here is a late 19th-century euphemism for damn.

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