Historically Speaking

Making sense of it all!

Hangout

Posted by Elyse Bruce on April 14, 2010

Even though today a hangout is slang for a favourite place for spending time, a place frequented for entertainment and socializing, it didn’t always mean this.

In the early 1900s, a hangout was a place where an individual spent his free time in, where he loitered and passed his time idly.   From the mid to late 1900s, hangout became a verb that referred to the individual or individuals with whom you were keeping company.

But long before those definitions, a hangout was a place of business as professionals, artisans and tradesmen hung their shingles out to advertise the services and products they offered as well as their place of business. The comment most often heard in commercial and professional circles — and not unlike the current practice of exchanging business cards — prior to the 1900s was, “Where do you hang out your sign?”

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