keep someone dangling

dangle

[dang-guhl]
verb (used without object), dangled, dangling.
1.
to hang loosely, especially with a jerking or swaying motion: The rope dangled in the breeze.
2.
to hang around or follow a person, as if seeking favor or attention.
3.
Grammar. to occur as a modifier without a head or as a participle without an implied subject, as leaving the tunnel in The daylight was blinding, leaving the tunnel.
verb (used with object), dangled, dangling.
4.
to cause to dangle; hold or carry swaying loosely.
5.
to offer as an inducement.
noun
6.
the act of dangling.
7.
something that dangles.
Idioms
8.
keep someone dangling, to keep someone in a state of uncertainty.

Origin:
1580–90; expressive word akin to Norwegian, Swedish dangla, Danish dangle dangle

dangler, noun
danglingly, adverb


1. swing, sway, flap.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
dangle (ˈdæŋɡəl)
 
vb
1.  to hang or cause to hang freely: his legs dangled over the wall
2.  (tr) to display as an enticement: the hope of a legacy was dangled before her
 
n
3.  the act of dangling or something that dangles
 
[C16: perhaps from Danish dangle, probably of imitative origin]
 
'dangler
 
n
 
'danglingly
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

dangle
c.1590, probably from Scandinavian (cf. Dan. dangle, Norw. dangla), perhaps via N.Fris. dangeln.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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