Hanged or Hung?

What Is the Difference between "Hanged" and "Hung"?

"Hanged" and "hung" are easy to confuse.
  • Hanged. "Hanged" means "put to death by suspension from the neck."
  • Hung. "Hung" means "suspended from above."
If you're talking about executing someone by suspension from the neck, then "hanged" is the past tense and past participle of the verb "to hang." For example:
  • They hanged him for treason.
  • (This is the past tense of "to hang.")
  • He was hanged for piracy.
  • (This is the past participle of "to hang.")
In all other senses of the verb "to hang," the past tense and past participle is "hung." For example:
  • They hung the paintings in the corridor.
  • (This is the past tense.)
  • His picture was hung above the fireplace.
  • (This is the past participle.)
hanged or hung?

A Video Summary

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More Example Sentences with "Hung"

  • Anybody caught selling macrame in public should be dyed a natural color and hung out to dry. (Journalist Calvin Trillin) correct tick
  • Clowns are the pegs on which the circus is hung. correct tick (American showman P. T. Barnum)
  • The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't. (Author Douglas Adams) correct tick

More Example Sentences with "Hanged"

"Hanged" is only used when it means putting someone to death by suspending them from the neck.
  • One should forgive one's enemies, but not before they are hanged. (German poet Heinrich Heine) correct tick
  • He who wishes to be rich in a day will be hanged in a year. correct tick (Polymath Leonardo da Vinci)
  • No man has ever yet been hanged for breaking the spirit of a law. correct tick (President Grover Cleveland)

More about "Hanged" and "Hung"

Pay attention to the detail. Remember that "hanged" specifically means "put to death by suspension from a rope or noose." These two examples relate to hanging-style punishments, but the correct word is "hung."
  • Captain Kidd was hanged for piracy in 1701. After the hanging, his body was taken to be hanged in chains at Tilbury Point. wrong cross
  • (In this example from History Today, the first "hanged" is correct, but the second should be "hung.")
  • People need to understand: Businesses are going to make mistakes. They shouldn't be shot and hung every time. wrong cross (Businessman Jamie Dimon)
  • (If Mr. Dimon meant executed, then he should have used "hanged." However, as this figurative hanging follows being shot, it should be assumed that "hung" is being used in the sense of the idiom "hung out to dry" (i.e., abandoned). Therefore, "hung" is correct.)

"Hanged" or "Hung," Drawn, and Quartered

Anyone who has studied the fate of traitors in England from the 13th century to the 18th century will doubtless have encountered "hanged, drawn, and quartered" and "hung, drawn, and quartered." If you opt for "hanged, drawn, and quartered," few will contest your choice, but using the "hanged" version might irk you because the punishment is so commonly described as "hung, drawn, and quartered." If you feel that "hung" is the right word, here are two justifications for you:

(1) "Hung, drawn, and quartered" is a colloquialism.
(2) "Hung" is used over "hanged" because the person being executed is not hanged to death but only hung up (albeit by the neck) as the first stage of the punishment.

Terms with "Hanged" and "Hung"

Here are some common terms with "hanged" and "hung":


  • hung a picture
  • hung a painting
  • hung down
  • hung around
  • hung beef
  • hung ceiling
  • hung chicken
  • hung parliament
  • hung in there
  • hungover
  • hung up the phone


  • hanged man
  • rather hanged for a sheep as a lamb
  • hanged from the yardarm
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This page was written by Craig Shrives.