How’s It Hanging – Meaning & Origin (+4 Good Responses)

“How’s it hanging” is a style of greeting in English. It’s a colloquial phrase, but you might find it quite useful to understand and use yourself. This article will explore the meaning of the word while also explaining what it means if you’re unsure how to use it yourself.

What Does “How’s It Hanging” Mean?

“How’s it hanging” means “what’s up” or “what’s on your mind.” We use it as a greeting to ask how things are going in somebody’s life. The original meaning has been lost, and many people simply use it as a new slang term for asking how you are.

What Does "How's It Hanging" Mean?

When it first came about, “how’s it hanging” was mostly reserved for men. We’ll touch a little bit more on this in a while, explaining why it drifted into a more mainstream phrase.

As far as slang terms go, it’s not the most common to hear. Anyone can use it today, but we often don’t hear it spoken, and we rarely see it written.

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What Is The Origin Of “How’s It Hanging”?

Before we talk about the origin of the phrase, we think it would help to see how popular it is in English. From there, you might understand whether it’s worth learning about it and when to use it.

According to this graph, “how is it hanging” is fairly popular and only came about in the last two decades. Before then, there were very few mentions of the phrase (except for a brief time in the late 1960s).

What Is The Origin Of "How's It Hanging"?

So, where did the phrase “how’s it hanging” come from exactly?

A Dictionary Of Catch Phrases American And British

Written by Eric Partridge, the dictionary in question seems to define the origin of “how’s it hanging.” It was a man-to-man greeting, though today it seems to be more open to multiple people.

“How’s it hanging” originally referred to the “p*nis.” “It” refers to how a man’s p*nis “hung” on that day, to basically ask them “how’s your s*x life” and thus “how are you?” It was a slang form of asking how another man was while being coy about their genitalia.

You’re probably quite surprised to read that, but it’s true. The phrase “how’s it hanging” comes from talking about genitalia. Men would often greet other men with the phrase to ask them how they were doing and whether there were any fascinating new updates with their lives.

Even though the phrase asks how “it’s” hanging, the men that asked it were rarely asking about another man’s s*x life. It was more of an inside joke between the men that use it to poke fun at each other and ask them what’s up.

Examples Of How To Use “How’s It Hanging” In A Conversation

To help you understand how it’s used today (with no relation to genitalia), we’ll show you when it works best with some examples. From there, you’ll be able to use it yourself if you want to.

“How’s it hanging” is a greeting similar to “how are you.” We use it to ask how somebody is and how they’re feeling, so it’s best to include it at the start of an interaction.

  • How’s it hanging today, Jerry?
  • Oh, I can’t complain, thank you!
  • How’s it hanging?
  • Not bad, thanks!
  • How’s it hanging, brother?
  • I’m okay, though I think I need to sort my life out!
  • Hey! How’s it hanging?
  • Hey, it’s going okay, thank you, what about you?

As you can see, the phrase “how’s it hanging” doesn’t offer an easy way to respond to it. That’s why people often avoid using it since there’s no real way to reply (other than saying “it’s good” or “it’s okay”).

How’s It Hanging – Synonyms

There are plenty of alternatives to “how’s it hanging” that you might be more familiar with. These are all suitable synonyms that you can use, especially if you’re not comfortable with how “how’s it hanging” works.

  • What’s up?
  • How are you?
  • How’s it going?
  • How’s things?
  • Are you okay?
  • How you doing?
  • Is life treating you well?
  • Are you doing okay?
  • How’s you?
  • What’s good?

These synonyms are all slang and colloquial alternatives to “how’s it hanging.” They’re mostly all more popular than “how’s it hanging” as well, so work really well if you want to use them in this way.

4 Good Responses To “How’s It Hanging”

Responding to “how’s it hanging” sets up the precedent for the rest of your conversation with somebody. We think it’s crucial to know what you’re going to say, so we’ve put together a list of good responses to help you.

  • I’m good, thanks for asking.
  • It’s going well, thank you.
  • How’s it hanging with you?
  • How are you?

I’m Good, Thanks For Asking

“I’m good, thanks” works well when we want to talk about how we’re feeling. We can replace “good” with any adjective that explains how we are doing when somebody asks us.

  • How’s it hanging?
  • I’m good, thanks for asking!
  • How’s it hanging?
  • I’m not okay, but thanks for asking.

It’s Going Well, Thank You

“It’s going well, thank you” is another way you can phrase the response. Instead of using “I’m” to refer to how we are, we can take the word “it” out of “how’s it hanging” and use it in our response. It makes us sound like we’re responding directly to the question.

  • How’s it hanging?
  • It’s going well, thank you!
  • How’s it hanging?
  • It’s okay, thank you.

How’s It Hanging With You?

“How’s it hanging with you” is another great response. Typically, we answer how we’re feeling first; then, we offer them the question so they can let us know how they are.

  • How’s it hanging?
  • Not bad, thanks. How’s it hanging with you?
  • Oh, I can’t complain!

How Are You?

“How are you” is another great way to respond. We can use it to ask how they’re doing after we’ve answered for ourselves. It’s a great way to keep a conversation going.

  • How’s it hanging?
  • I’m good, thank you. How are you?
  • I’m doing okay, thanks.