What Does Hanging Out Mean?

Hang Out Meaning

Definition: To spend time socially with someone.

Origin of To Hang Out With

This usage of the phrase originated in the mid 1900s. This idiom is an informal expression that is appropriate for conversational English. A more formal way to say the same thing would be to socialize. For children, most people say play together.

An earlier use of hang out, from the 1800s, simply meant to loiter or to pass time.

It is unclear what connection, if any, exists between this definition of hang (to pass time) and the primary definition (suspended from something). It is possible that something that is hanging, such as laundry on a line, looks as if it is relaxed and just passing the time.

However, there is no evidence to support this.

Examples of To Hang Out With

what does hang out meanIn the example below, two friends are talking about their boring weekends.

Ted: There’s nothing going on this weekend. I have a lot of work to do, but I wish I also had something fun to look forward to.

Rufio: I was thinking the same thing. Maybe we should make our own fun. Do you want to hang out?

Ted: Sure! I’d love to. I’m just not sure what we should do. There aren’t any good movies in the theater. There are no cool bands playing any shows.

Rufio: Let’s just watch sports on TV and eat nachos.

Ted: That sounds amazing. I’m in!

hanging out meaningThis dialogue shows two friends who are making plans for the evening.

Zayna: Oh, look at this. There is a fancy new restaurant that opened up not far from here. Do you want to go with me?

Ben: Not tonight. I don’t feel like dressing up.

Zayna: Okay then. We could go to the art museum. I heard they have a cool new exhibit.

Ben: Meh. I’m not in the mood for art.

Zayna: You never want to go anywhere!

Ben: Sorry! I just like hanging out at home. Let’s just play some cards and drink some beer.

More Examples

The excerpt is from a horoscope.

  • Make sure to hang out with people who have your best interests at heart. –Chicago Sun Times

This excerpt is about professional football players on the same team who are trying to spend more time together socially.

  • Toews pointed to a more cohesive unit, no longer divided into two camps — the core guys, and the other guys. Whether it’s Patrick Sharp accepting a third-line role and taking 19-year-old Alex DeBrincat under his wing; or Richard Panik making more of an effort to hang out with all the players, not just the Slovak and Czech ones; or 27-year-old rookie Jan Rutta talking fantasy-football trash with his new teammates, the Hawks have had less clique-ing and more clicking. –Chicago Sun Times


The expression to hang out with means to keep company with.