I have searched for this quote's meaning by Henry Ward Beeccher on the internet, but couldn't find the meaning.
What does all words are pegs to hang ideas on means?

  • 3
    This is General Reference at the level of interpreting the figurative pegs/hanging usage. It's essentially the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, where the "strong" version says that language determines thought, and that linguistic categories limit and determine cognitive categories, while the "weak" version says only that linguistic categories and usage influence thought and certain kinds of non-linguistic behaviour. Or the opposite (do words enable thought, or do thoughts give rise to words?). Aug 30, 2014 at 12:31
  • 2
    It means simply that the purpose of words is to convey our ideas to someone else. Aug 30, 2014 at 14:04
  • @FF It's the opposite. Aug 30, 2014 at 16:24
  • literature is the furniture of the mind! (goodness knows what magazines are.)
    – Fattie
    Aug 30, 2014 at 17:33

3 Answers 3


A peg is (Dictionary.com):

1. a pin of wood or other material driven or fitted into something, as to fasten parts together, to hang things on, to make fast a rope or string on, to stop a hole, or to mark some point. [emphasis mine]

When you hang something (let's say a coat) on a peg, the peg is what keeps the coat 1) accessible to its next use, and 2) organized according to its surroundings.

The quote "All words are pegs to hang ideas on" metaphorically states that words 1) allow ideas to be accessible to an audience (or to yourself) and 2) organize ideas into proper sequence.


'Pegs' are like hooks that help us to hang things like coats, shirts or even calendars or pictures. The sentence - "All words are pegs to hang ideas on" - is an example of metaphor. Here the writer has compared pegs with words. Each and every word can initiate or bring forth new ideas in our mind. The words we come across in our daily life have the capacity to unfurl in our mind new ideas. So the words are acting like pegs that holds or hangs a picture or something that totally rests on the peg.

It is like a web page of 'wikipedia' where we may find many words which are hyperlinked. The hyperlinked words are like pegs that unfurls another page full of new words or ideas.


As pegs are to clothes, words are to ideas.

  • 5
    HNi @Suresh Nellikode, welcome to English Language & Usage. Your response is appreciated, but ELU recommends that answers include a degree of context and/or explanation. Please include this content in your answers. Thanks!
    – freeling10
    Feb 21, 2017 at 3:34

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