‘Hang In There’: Definition, Meaning, and Examples

By Sophia Merton, updated on December 29, 2022

Did someone tell you to just ‘hang in there’? What does that mean, exactly? In this article, we’ll look at the definition, origin, and examples of the phrase.

In brief, though, ‘hang in there’ means that you should continue on despite discouragement, opposition, or difficulties. Essentially, it means you shouldn’t give up even if you’re facing a challenge that makes you want to quit.

What Does 'Hang in There' Mean?

‘Hang in there’ is an English idiom that means that you should persist despite obstacles or difficulties. This is often used to encourage someone to either stay calm or continue on when they are in a tough situation.

Depending on the circumstance, the intended meaning of ‘hang in there’ could be any of the following:

  • Keep trying, and don’t give up
  • Be patient until things work out
  • Persist in the face of difficulties, stay determined
  • Stay calm until things work out

For example, if you are working on a difficult project at work that you feel will never be completed, your boss might tell you to ‘hang in there’ to communicate that you should persevere. You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘hang in there’ in movies and TV shows many times over when a person is near death and help is on the way. In these scenes, the person that is with the injured or sick person might tell them to just ‘hang in there’ to tell them to hold on for a little longer until help arrives.

Where Does 'Hang in There' Come From?

The phrase ‘hang in there’ meaning to “persist through adversity” dates back to 1969 according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. The word ‘hang’ comes from the fusion of two Old English words, ‘hon’ and ‘hangian,’ with the first meaning “suspend” and the second meaning “be suspended.”

Examples of 'Hang in There' In Sentences

How would you use ‘hang in there’ in a sentence? Let’s look at some examples:

  • “I know you’re tired, but we just have to get this done. Hang in there for now, and we’ll be able to take the next few days off from work.”
  • Hang in there, Bob; it takes a lot of people several months or more to find a job they’re happy with.”
  • In regard to your car, you’re going to need to hang in there a little longer. I’m still waiting for the part to arrive.”
  • “Johnny, we’ve only begun the car trip, and you’re already fighting with your sister. You need to hang in there because it’s going to be a long ride.”
  • “Adam really isn’t doing well after the breakup. I keep telling him to hang in there, but it seems to be falling on deaf ears.”
  • “She was howling in pain because her teeth ached. All she could do was hang in there until the medicine kicked in.”
  • “Middle school is a weird time for everyone. Just hang in there because things will get better as you get older.”

Other Ways to Say 'Hang in There'

Looking for some other ways to convey a similar meaning as the idiom ‘hang in there’? Here are some other options:

  • Persevere
  • Carry on
  • Persist
  • Bear with me
  • Never give up
  • Stick it out
  • Sit tight
  • Be patient

Are you eager to keep learning more English idioms and phrases? Don’t worry; we’re not going to tell you to ‘hang in there’! You can find plenty more articles about tons of fascinating idioms on our blog.

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Written By:
Sophia Merton
Sophia Merton is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Sophia received her BA from Vassar College. She is passionate about reading, writing, and the written word. Her goal is to help everyone, whether native English speaker or not, learn how to write and speak with perfect English.

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