early 14c., pendaunt, "loose, hanging part of anything," whether ornamental or useful, from Anglo-French pendaunt (c. 1300), Old French pendant (13c.), noun uses of the present-participle adjective from pendre "to hang," from Latin pendere "to hang," from PIE *(s)pend-, extended form of root *(s)pen- "to draw, stretch, spin." Meaning "dangling part of an earring" is attested from 1550s. Nautical sense of "long tapering flag" is recorded from late 15c. "In this sense presumably a corruption of pennon" [OED]. In 14c.-16c. also "the testicles." As an adjective, the same as pendent, which is now the usual spelling.
updated on March 19, 2020