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strap hanging

strap hanging
 n.— «Usually the truck drivers wait at the opening of the valley for a U.S. Army patrol to pass and then they follow it, a practice soldiers have dubbed “strap hanging.” Lining the sides of the road are the remains of scorched trucks belonging to drivers too impatient to wait for an informal escort.» —“‘They Feel Like Outsiders and They Don’t Want to Be’” by Greg Jaffe Washington Post Oct. 6, 2009. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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  • I first heard this term in the Navy. I was told it derives from the ropes, or “straps,” that run round the side of an inflatable liferaft. If the raft is too full, survivors in the water can hang onto the straps. It signifies someone who is not involved in or contributing to something, but still gets some benefit from it — someone who’s just along for the ride.

  • I heard this many years ago when living in NYC. It referred to people riding the subways or busses where all the seats were occupied and people grabbed leather straps that hung from racks mounted on the ceilings so they wouldn’t fall over when the vehicles came to quick stops or accelerated too quickly.

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