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Hang tight

Posted by Smokey Stover on September 03, 2009 at 03:18

In Reply to: Hang tight posted by ESC on September 02, 2009 at 18:48:

: : : I am looking for the year the phrase "hang tight" or "hang in there" was used.

: : This is one of those instances where I think a phrase will be easy to find. And it's not. Closest I've found so far:

: : hang tough, to endure or persevere, Hippie Counterculture chapter, "Flappers 2 Rappers: American Youth Slang" by Tom Dalzell (Merriam-Webster Inc., Springfield, Md., 1996). Page 142.

: : Hang to the rigging, be patient. 1966. "Dictionary of American Regional English," Volume II by Frederic G. Cassidy and Joan Houston Hall (1991, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., and London, England). Page 893.

: Hang in there -- Stick with it, even though the going is tough. Probably a boxing term for a fighter "momentarily getting the worst of it" who clings "to the ropes or the arms of his opponent for a respite." Used in a 1972 The Atlantic article about President Nixon: " would be in his nature to hang in there and fight." "Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Wings Books, Originally New York: Facts on File Publications, 1985). Page 120.

: Then there's the "hang in there" kitty.

Nice kitty pictures.

I don't think "hang tight" and "hang in there" are always used synonymously, but they often are. The ordinary connotation of hang tight would be "sit tight," i.e., keep your present position. But it can also be used the same way as "hang in there" which means "persevere, don't be discouraged."

There are no doubt newer meanings, especially for "hang tight" or "hang-tight." See, for instance, the definition in the Urban Dictionary.

As far as I know, "hang tight" is not used by the same people who say "hold on tightly" and mean something a bit different by it.