hang, weigh

Quick Summary

The Latin root word pend and its variant pens both mean “hang” or “weigh.” These roots are the word origin of many English vocabulary words, including pend, pendant, suspense, and expensive. An easy way to remember these different meanings is that a pendant “hangs” from your neck, whereas you have to “weigh” out a lot of money if something is expensive.

Hang On and Weigh In!

The Latin root word pend means “hang,” and its variant pens means “hang” or most often “weigh.”

When you are dependent upon another person, for example, you “hang” from him. Of course, when you are completely independent, you do not “hang” from anyone or anything! When a patent is pending, it is “hanging” in limbo until the patent office decides on whether to grant the patent or not. A pendant “hangs” from a chain, whereas a pendulum hangs from a long thin rope that allows the weight to swing back and forth. The pendulum therefore is suspended from the rope, or “hangs” from it. And when you expend a lot of effort? You have “hung” it out there!

The most common variant spelling of pend is pens, which can mean “hang,” as in the word suspense, for instance, which etymologically refers to “hanging” onto the edge of your seat during a thrilling movie. Most often, however, pens has the sense “weigh,” since when you originally “weighed” something you had to “hang” it upon scale. When you have a large expense, for instance, you have to “weigh” out a lot of money to pay for it. Something expensive would require a large “weighing” out of funds. When you receive a large compensation for a job you have done, it is a “weighing” together of money that is the agreed upon equivalent of the work you performed. And that pill dispenser you own? It “weighs” out just the right amount of medicine that you need per day.

“Hang” on to the root pend, “weigh” carefully the root pens in your mind, and you will no longer be so dependent upon a dictionary, nor needlessly worried or pensive when you come across a new word!

  1. dependent: ‘hang’ from
  2. independent: not ‘hanging’ from
  3. pending: ‘hanging’
  4. pendant: jewelry item which ‘hangs’
  5. pendulum: swinging weight that ‘hangs’ from a rope
  6. suspend: ‘hang’
  7. suspense: condition of ‘hanging’
  8. expense: a ‘weighing’ out
  9. expensive: of a ‘weighing’ out a lot
  10. compensation: the act of ‘weighing’ together
  11. dispenser: that which ‘weighs’ out
  12. pensive: of a ‘weighing’ heavily on one’s mind


  • compendium

    A compendium is a detailed collection of information on a particular or specific subject, usually in a book.

  • impending

    An impending event is approaching fast or is about to occur; this word usually has a negative implication, referring to something threatening or harmful coming.

  • append

    When you append something to something else, you attach or add it, such as extra information to the end of a book.

  • independent

    Someone who is independent takes care of themselves and does not rely on anyone to help them.

  • depend

    When you depend on another person, you rely on them or need them to do something for you.

  • appendage

    an external body part that projects from the body

  • appendectomy

    surgical removal of the vermiform appendix

  • appendices

    supplementary material that is collected and appended at the back of a book

  • appendix

    supplementary material that is collected and appended at the back of a book

  • compendious

    briefly giving the gist of something

  • dependability

    the quality of being dependable or reliable

  • dependable

    worthy of reliance or trust

  • dependent

    relying on or requiring a person or thing for support, supply, or what is needed

  • expend

    use up, consume fully

  • expenditure

    money paid out

  • impend

    be imminent or about to happen

  • interdependent

    mutually dependent

  • pend

    Oil cake; penock.

  • pendant

    held from above

  • pendent

    held from above

  • pending

    awaiting conclusion or confirmation

  • pendulous

    having branches or flower heads that bend downward

  • pendulum

    an apparatus consisting of an object mounted so that it swings freely under the influence of gravity

  • perpendicular

    intersecting at or forming right angles

  • spend

    pass time in a specific way

  • spendthrift

    recklessly wasteful

  • stipend

    a sum of money allotted on a regular basis

  • suspend

    hang freely

  • suspenders

    supporting bands that keep up clothing such as pants

Related Word Parts

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