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Hung and Hanged
Is there really a correct form for execution?
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2014/07/14
7:02am
thazo
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I should say first that as a child, I had always heard that when someone had a noose around their neck until death that they were “hung”. It wasn’t until recent, well within 20 years, that I began to hear the phrase “he was hanged”, more often via television news. 

When I googled which was correct, I was astonished to read that “hanged” is the correct form for execution and that “hung” is incorrect unless talking about inanimate objects.

 

Is that really true? Did all of Texas say it wrong for generations? How could that be?

2014/07/14
1:25pm
deaconB
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I am biting my tongue because this would be an excellent opportunity to say nasty things about Texas, but given their politicians of late, that would be piling on, wouldn’t it?

John Dillinger was well-hung, but he is inanimate now.

But dictionary.com usage notes says it’s optional. “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>.”

So it can be spelt whichever way you wish for a necktie party. 

2014/07/14
1:32pm
Robert
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thazo, always  heard ?   You had an interesting childhood.

This question never stops coming up,  but what you found was right.  Check the books in here- hanged for hanged is not only almost the only correct choice, but went back way way back.

2014/07/15
6:38am
Glenn
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Both are right. Most sources say that hanged and hung have been considered interchangeable for all uses until fairly recently. Now, both are in currency, but hanged is documented in some sources as more formal than hung. Could it be that the slang inference of a man being hung has increased the use of hanged? I might be inclined toward hanged in situations where the slang might also apply.

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