In the spirit of the What is a Word™/Phrase™ series started by JLee, a special brand of Phrase™ and Word™ puzzles.

If a word conforms to a special rule, I call it a Hanging Word™.
Use the following examples below to find the rule.

$$\begin{array}{|c|c|}\hline \bbox[yellow]{\vphantom{Yy}\textbf{Hanging Words }^™}& \bbox[yellow]{\vphantom{Yy}\textbf{Not Hanging Words }^™}\\ \hline \text{ GLOW }&\text{ SHINE }\\ \hline \text{ GUN }&\text{ TASER }\\ \hline \text{ TULIP }&\text{ ROSE }\\ \hline \text{ BEACH }&\text{ SHORE }\\ \hline \text{ WALK }&\text{ STRIDE }\\ \hline \text{ ECZEMA }&\text{ RASH }\\ \hline \text{ MUD }&\text{ DIRT }\\ \hline \text{ SECRET }&\text{ HIDDEN }\\ \hline \text{ PIG }&\text{ HORSE }\\ \hline \text{ ALERT }&\text{ TIRED }\\ \hline \text{ BAGGINS }&\text{ SHIRE }\\ \hline \text{ FOX }&\text{ ROOSTER }\\ \hline \text{ JOY }&\text{ SADNESS }\\ \hline \text{ QUICHE }&\text{ TART }\\ \hline \end{array}$$                                          

And, if you want to analyze, here is a CSV version:

Hanging Words™,Not Hanging Words™

The puzzle satisfies the series' inbuilt assumption, that each word can be tested for whether it is a Hanging Word™ without relying on the other words.
These are not the only examples of Hanging Words™; many more exist.

What is the special rule these words conform to?

An aside: It might be more accurate to flip the columns and call them 'Not-Hanging Words' and 'Not Not-Hanging Words', given the rule determining them


A word is hanging if

it contains a letter not in ETAIONSHRD, the ten most common English letters

The names comes from

the word game hangman, where a player must guess all the letters in a word within a certain number of guesses. If they don't get it within that number, the man is "hanged". A common strategy is to guess common letters first, so these are words that cause a hanging with 10 guesses of the most common letters.

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  • $\begingroup$ Exactly right, well done! $\endgroup$ – LogicianWithAHat Dec 16 '16 at 10:13

This is a kinda non-answer answer, but so far as the provided lists go it seems that a word is Hanging if and only if

it contains one of the letters BCGKLMUWZ.

Obviously this is not a satisfactory answer for three reasons:

it doesn't give any insight into what actual difference is intended; there may be Hanging Words we haven't seen that don't contain any of those letters; there may be Not Hanging Words we haven't seen that do contain some of them.

But I will hazard a guess that

some answer of the form "a word is Hanging if and only if it contains one of the following set of letters: ..." is in fact correct (though a sufficiently insightful answer should also explain why that set of letters)

in which case

the correct set of letters must not include any of ADEHINOPRST (because those are all found in Not Hanging Words); it may also include some or all of FJQXY (which are not present in either list in the question).

And, slightly less trivially,

it must include C (because of SECRET), G (because of PIG), L (because of ALERT), and either M or U (because of MUD). These suffice to explain all the other listed Hanging Words.

So, to summarize:

Assuming that an answer of the given form correctly distinguishes Hanging from Not Hanging, the set of Hanging letters does include C, G, L, and either M or U; it may include the other of M,U as well as some or all of BFJKQWXYZ; it must not include any of ADEHINOPRST.

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  • $\begingroup$ All correct observations thus far, and it seems that I made a mistake with one non-hanging word (sheep). Sorry! $\endgroup$ – LogicianWithAHat Dec 16 '16 at 9:14

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