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Hangers on

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on October 13, 2008 at 17:27

In Reply to: Hangers on posted by Frank on October 13, 2008 at 08:07:

: The phrase "hangers on". I was lead to beleive that this phrase was used by the more well-off riding inside a stage coach, meaning the less well-heeled hanging on top.

Not so: the phrase pre-dates the stagecoach by several centuries, being first recorded in 1549. It simply means "a dependant" - note that "dependant" contains exactly the same metaphor, coming as it does from a Latin word meaning "someone/something that hangs" (cf. its relatives "pendant", "pending" and "pendulum"). )VSD)