I've tried to find the exact meaning of this sentence but failed. Can someone kindly tell me what it means? "She likes to leave you hanging on a wire."

  • 2
    "Leave you hanging" is a common set phrase, meaning that you're left without an answer/direction/completion to whatever it is that is the point of consideration. Then there's "hanging by a thread", which means being in a precarious situation. I'm not familiar with "hanging on a wire" as a separate "set phrase".
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 14, 2015 at 17:20
  • The important thing to note is that all the various "hanging on a ___" phrases have slightly different meanings. It's hard to guess what "hanging on a wire" is meant to imply, absent further context.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 14, 2015 at 22:56
  • Possibly that she likes to control others as puppeteers control their puppets.
    – Tim
    Jan 14, 2015 at 23:29
  • If Jim Mack's answer (below) that this quoted sentence is a (possibly misheard) song lyric written by KT Tunstall is correct, it seems odd that this question continues to go unchallenged while another one (Meaning of “She fills up every corner like she's born in black and white”) has been put on hold. Is there a categorical difference between the two questions that I'm not seeing?
    – Sven Yargs
    Jan 14, 2015 at 23:44
  • @HotLicks while working my way through various dictionaries to get a good handle on this phrase, I came across leave/keep someone dangling, which seems to have the exact same meaning. Are you familiar with that too, and which one do you use/ hear used more often? [ merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leave%20(someone)%20dangling ]
    – Daniel
    Sep 29, 2018 at 12:45

4 Answers 4


Without any context, any answers will just be guessing.

But the mental image it conjures is the "hang in there" cat:

hang in there cat

If this is the author's intention, then the sentence means that she likes to leave you in a situation where you're likely to fail- like the cat in the poster that is probably going to fall. What that failure means depends entirely on who she is, who you are, and what the context of the sentence is.


In most cases, to leave someone hanging is to leave them without completing the conversation or sentence or project, or whatever the context may be. Hanging on a wire is still just about the insecurity any of us would feel hanging from an actual wire high in the air. To lose our grip and fall would be devastating. It's to leave someone in limbo, to leave them unsupported, without help or escape. It's to open a conversation and never finish it. It's to start a project with someone then disappear.


This may be a calque of the German "jemanden hängen lassen" (to leave someone hanging). It refers to a medieval European dating custom where a man would pull himself up in a basket to seduce a woman. If the woman did not like him she would literally leave him hanging on a wire outside her window with no means to get down other than jumping.

The standard German phrase for breaking up with someone is "einen Korb geben" (to give someone a basket). This refers to the woman leaving the man stuck in his lonely basket.


This sounds very much like a line from the song "Suddenly I See" by KT Tunstall. What the lyric actually says is "she likes to leave you hanging on a word".

If I guessed wrong here, at least if you follow the link you'll hear a catchy pop tune (-:

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