Purple Nebula (gwoman) wrote in word_ancestry,
Purple Nebula
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hang; hanged vs. hung

hang, v. [hang, hāng]
-This verb has an unusual history to it. Middle English hangen 'hang' (circa 1130 CE) was a fusion of two Old English words from around 1000 CE: hon 'suspend' (transitive verb, past tense heng) and hangian, hongian 'be suspended' (intransitive verb, past tense hangode). It was also influenced by Old Norse hengja 'suspend' and hanga 'be suspended.' Hon is corresponds to Old Frisian hua 'suspend or hang,' Old Saxon, Old High German, and Gothic hahan, Middle Low German han, and Middle Dutch haen. These all spawned from proto-Germanic hanh. As for heng, this arose from proto-Germanic kheng, from prehistoric Indo-European keng- 'to waver, be in suspense.' Through this, the English word is related to Old Frisian hangia 'be suspended, hang,' Old Saxon hangon, Middle Dutch and Dutch hangen, Old High German hangen, German hängen, Gothic hahan, Hittite gang- 'to hang,' Sanskrit sankate 'wavers,' and Latin cunctari 'to delay.' Modern English hang has two past participles: hung and hanged. Hanged was in use for many centuries before hung appeared, the latter being traced back to the 1500's with an originating location in Northern England. By the 1600's, hung had become the standard but hanged was still kept on, mostly to be used in legal settings to mean 'suspended by the neck.' We still see it used in some idiomatic expressions that branched off from the legal usage, such as "I'll be hanged if...."
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