The Hangman is a paper and pencil guessing game for two or more players. One player thinks of a word, phrase or sentence and the other tries to guess it by suggesting letters or numbers.
The word to guess is represented by a row of dashes, giving the number of letters, numbers and category. If the guessing player suggests a letter or number which occurs in the word, the other player writes it in all its correct positions. If the suggested letter or number does not occur in the word, the other player draws one element of a hanged man stick figure as a tally mark. The game is over when:
- The guessing player completes the word, or guesses the whole word correctly
- The other player completes the diagram:
This diagram is, in fact, designed to look like a hanging man. Although debates have arisen about the questionable taste of this picture, it is still in use today. A common alternative for teachers is to draw an apple tree with ten apples, erasing or crossing out the apples as the guesses are used up.