hanged vs. hung

Actually, contrary to what people might think, “hanged” is perfectly acceptable as a proper past-tense form of “hang” — when referring to deaths, that is. Merriam-Webster says:

For both transitive and intransitive senses 1b the past and past participle hung, as well as hanged, is standard. Hanged is most appropriate for official executions <he was to be hanged, cut down whilst still alive…and his bowels torn out — Louis Allen> but hung is also used <gave orders that she should be hung — Peter Quennell>. Hung is more appropriate for less formal hangings <by morning I’ll be hung in effigy — Ronald Reagan>.

Often, you’ll see “hung” used in suicides (e.g., “he hung himself”), but as seen above, “hanged” is usually used for executions. However, if you’re not discussing death, you probably want “hung” (e.g., “she hung up her clothes,” “I hung up on him,” not “hanged up”).


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