'Hanged' or 'Hung': What's the Difference?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on January 10, 2023

Wondering what the difference is between ‘hanged’ and ‘hung’? And which one is correct to use? We can clear that up, plus teach you how to use the correct word in a sentence.

Don’t feel like waiting? Here’s the short answer:

  • ‘Hanged’ is the past tense of ‘hang’ when it means to kill someone by hanging them with by a rope.
  • ‘Hung’ is the past tense of ‘hang’ when it means ‘to suspend or be suspended.’

‘Hanged’ vs. ‘Hung’ – Learn the Difference

As you just learned, ‘hanged’ and ‘hung’ are both acceptable past tense forms of the word ‘hang.’

However, you can’t use them interchangeably because they mean two different things.

‘Hanged’ is the past tense of ‘hang’ when you’re referring to killing someone.

‘Hung’ is the past tense of ‘hang’ when you’re talking about hanging something up.

Is it ‘Hung’ or ‘Hanged’? 

So, is it ‘hung’ or ‘hanged’? Well, that depends on the context.

As we said before, ‘hung’ is the past tense of the word when you’re referring to hanging something up, such as a coat.

‘Hanged’ is the past tense of the word when you’re referring to hanging someone (i.e., killing them) with a rope.

Definition and Meaning of ‘Hanged’ and ‘Hung’

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘hanged’ is: “to fasten to some elevated point without support from below: suspend,” “to suspend by the neck until dead > often hanged in the past > often used as a mild oath,” “to fasten so as to allow free motion within given limits upon a point of suspension,” “to furnish with hanging decorations (such as flags or bunting),” “to hold or bear in a suspended or inclined manner,” “to apply to a wall,” “to display (pictures) in a gallery,” and “baseball: to throw (a pitch, such as a curveball) so that it fails to break properly.”

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘hung’ is: “past tense and past participle of hang,” “unable to reach a decision or verdict,” and “also, British: not having a political party with an overall majority."

Some synonyms of the word are:

  • Declining
  • Hanging
  • Inclining
  • Drooping
  • Bowed
  • Pendulous
  • Descending
  • Sagging
  • Weeping

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘Hang’ and ‘Hung’

To pronounce ‘hang’ correctly, here’s how you’d say it phonetically: hAng.

To pronounce ‘hung’ correctly, here’s how you’d say it phonetically: hUHng.

How to Use ‘Hanged’ in a Sentence

Now that we know what both words mean let’s look at how to use them both in a sentence.

  • I had a dream that I was hanged by my father. It was insane.
  • I read an article about a boy who hanged himself. It was so sad.
  • My co-worker hanged himself last night. Work is going to be weird without him.
  • I don’t know how she could’ve hanged herself in a house full of people.
  • Last night, my fiancée hanged herself. I feel so empty inside.
  • My cousin hanged herself when I was 12 years old. It changed my life forever.

How to Use ‘Hung’ in a Sentence

Now, let’s take a look at how to use ‘hung’ in a sentence.

  • I hung my coat and backpack up as soon as I got in the house so my mom wouldn’t yell at me.
  • I bought you a new dress last week. Your mother hung it in your closet.
  • I hung out with my friends after school today. We went to the arcade and then the mall.
  • I need to talk to you about why you never hung up your uniform after I ironed it.
  • Can you please hang up your clean clothes? I just did laundry.
  • At the photo shoot, there were several designer dresses hung up on the rack. This was going to be fun!

Final Advice on ‘Hanged’ and ‘Hung’ 

To recap, we’ve learned that ‘hung’ and ‘hanged’ are both past tenses of the word ‘hang.’ We’ve also learned that they can’t be used interchangeably because the former means hanging something up, while the latter refers to killing someone by hanging. So, you’ll want to make sure you use the right version of this word.

If you ever get stuck, you can always come back here for a quick refresher or to find information on another word. We’ve got a whole library of content on confusing words and phrases you might come across in the English language.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

Add new comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WritingTips.org Newsletter
Receive information on
new articles posted, important topics, and tips.
Join Now
We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.