What Does Hang in There Mean?

Hang in There Meaning

Definition: Don’t give up; persevere.

Origin of Hang in There

This expression is slang, and people use it as a way to encourage someone going through a tough time.

This expression become popular in the 1970s due to a popular poster that bore the phrase. The poster featured a Siamese cat hanging onto a bamboo pole, looking determined to stay stuck on there.

Before the popular poster, the photograph was published in a book. The photograph was so popular that the book author, Victor Baldwin, decided to turn it into a poster. Many copies featuring different cats were made. Variations of this poster still appear in various forms throughout pop culture.

Examples of Hang in There

hang in there idiomIn the dialogue below, two friends are talking about a difficult project one of them has been working on.

Ezekiel: Did you finally finish your big project?

Maggie: No, not yet. It requires so much attention to detail and a high level of collaboration from other staff in my department. No one is being very helpful. I keep asking them for responses that only they have the answers to. Those are answers I need to complete the project. I’m not sure how I can finish without their cooperation. Maybe I should just give up.

Ezekiel: No, don’t give up! Hang in there. I know you can do it! Threaten them a little if you have to!

just hang in thereIn this example, two friends are discussing a problem one of them is having with her sister.

Tyrion: What’s wrong? You look upset.

Mila: My sister had to go back to rehab for her alcohol addiction. This keeps happening again and again. I try to be there to support her, and I want to believe she can get better, but it’s hard. I don’t want to give up on her, but I feel like I can’t keep doing this anymore.

Tyrion: Hang in there. She needs your support. I know it’s hard, but you’ll find a way to do it.

More Examples

This excerpt is about a quarterback who is optimistic despite initial losses for his team.

  • “It gives you the confidence to know just hang in there and keep fighting and keep scratching and keeping going,” Rivers said. “Surely, we’re going to start finding a way to be on the other end of those.” –USA Today

This excerpt is about victims of a hurricane. They are still waiting for someone to rescue them.

  • “To those still waiting, we haven’t forgotten about you. Please hang in there just a bit longer,” said Friedberg. –Houston Chronicle


The idiom hang in there is an informal and friendly way to tell someone to keep trying.