The phrase "hang up" primarily has two meanings. The first meaning is to end a telephone connection. The second meaning is to retire or cease participating in a particular activity, hobby, or sport, often metaphorically represented by hanging up a piece of equipment used for that activity, like hanging up one's gloves or boots.
"Hang up" means to end a phone call or to stop engaging in a certain activity or sport.
The idiom "hang up" means to end a phone call by replacing the receiver. Nowadays, it refers to ending any phone call, not just those made on landline phones with physical receivers. It may also mean ceasing to participate in a certain activity, hobby, or sport, often symbolized by hanging up an item associated with it, like boxing gloves or football boots.
Key aspects of the idiom's meaning:
The phrase "hang up" has its origins in the early days of telephone technology. To end a call, one would literally "hang" the receiver on a hook or cradle. This action would break the circuit and end the call. The use of "hang up" to mean giving up or retiring from something is a metaphorical extension of this literal act of ending a connection.
"Just pick up, talk up, hang up."
- Dictaphone advertisment from ABA Journal, 1984
To better comprehend the idiom's usage, let's examine its use in a variety of contexts:
The idiom "hang up" is frequently used in popular culture:
There are several synonyms and phrases that can be used as alternatives to "hang up," depending on the context:
The phrase "hang up" has two meanings: ending a telephone call, and retiring or ceasing participation in a certain activity, hobby, or sport.
The idiom originates from early telephone technology where ending a call was done by literally hanging the receiver on its cradle. The second meaning, to cease an activity, is metaphorical and represents the act of hanging up an item associated with that activity.
Yes, when someone "hangs up" an activity to move on to something better or more fulfilling, it can be seen as positive. However, in the context of ending a phone call, it's usually neutral.
"Hang up" is considered neutral and can be used in both informal and formal contexts.
Yes, metaphorically, "hang up" can be used to describe ending a relationship, similar to disconnecting a call.
Yes, "hang up" is understood and used globally in English-speaking countries, both in the context of ending a phone call and retiring from an activity.
No, "hang up" can refer to ceasing participation in any activity or hobby, not just sports.
Yes, "hang up" can be used metaphorically to indicate retiring from a job or career, akin to hanging up one's work attire or tools.
Yes, in the context of a phone call, "hang up" is often used literally. However, when referring to ceasing an activity or retiring, it's used metaphorically.
"Hang up" is acceptable in both formal and informal contexts. However, in more formal or academic writing, you might prefer to use "end the call" or "retire" instead.
When someone says they need to "hang up" or asks you to "hang up," they're requesting to end the phone call. This phrase is often used when a conversation has reached its conclusion or when external factors necessitate ending the call. It may also mean retiring from a job or career.
Here's a quick recap: