hammer

1 of 2

noun

ham·​mer ˈha-mər How to pronounce hammer (audio)
1
a
: a hand tool consisting of a solid head set crosswise on a handle and used for pounding
b
: a power tool that often substitutes a metal block or a drill for the hammerhead
2
: something that resembles a hammer in form or action: such as
a
: a lever with a striking head for ringing a bell or striking a gong
b(1)
: an arm that strikes the cap in a percussion lock to ignite the propelling charge
(2)
: a part of the action of a modern gun that strikes the primer of the cartridge in firing or that strikes the firing pin to ignite the cartridge
c
d
: gavel
e(1)
: a padded mallet in a piano action for striking a string
(2)
: a hand mallet for playing on various percussion instruments (such as a xylophone)
3
: a metal sphere thrown for distance in the hammer throw
4

hammer

2 of 2

verb

hammered; hammering ˈha-mər-iŋ How to pronounce hammer (audio)
ˈham-riŋ

intransitive verb

1
: to strike blows especially repeatedly with or as if with a hammer : pound
2
: to make repeated efforts
especially : to reiterate an opinion or attitude
the lectures all hammered away at the same points

transitive verb

1
a
: to beat, drive, or shape with repeated blows of a hammer
b
: to fasten or build with a hammer
2
: to strike or drive with a force suggesting a hammer blow or repeated blows
hammered the ball over the fence
tried to hammer me into submission
3
: to criticize severely
hammerer noun
Phrases
under the hammer
: for sale at auction

Examples of hammer in a Sentence

Verb He hammered the dent out of the fender. The carpenters were hammering all afternoon. The workers are hammering the studs to the frame. The batter hammered the ball over the fence. Someone tried to hammer him over the head with a club. Many towns were hammered by the hurricane. The typist's fingers were hammering the keys. He was hammering at the door. The rain hammered down on the roof. The home team was hammered 9–0.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Caraballo was beaten with a hammer and suffocated in the basement of his home in Charlotte, Mich. Christine Pelisek, Peoplemag, 7 Apr. 2024 In March, one of Mr. Navalny’s chief aides, Leonid Volkov, was hospitalized after being beaten by unidentified men with a hammer outside his home in a Vilnius suburb. Tomas Dapkus, New York Times, 3 Apr. 2024 Lena Brown is a recluse who doesn’t have a lock on her door and so sleeps with a hammer by her pillow. Alex Kotlowitz, The Atlantic, 3 Apr. 2024 Terry Jon Martin pleaded guilty in Oct. 2023 to theft of a major artwork, admitting to using a hammer to break the museum’s glass door and display case. Tatiana Tenreyro, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 Mar. 2024 One night, the musician drove to his mother’s Los Angeles home, took his hammer and struck the 71-year-old on the head four times. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, 16 Mar. 2024 Through its open design sans a conventional dial, the mechanisms of the gongs and hammers are now visible from the face side, which allows the wearer to continually experience and admire one of the hallmarks that sets Patek Philippe apart from the rest. Rebecca Suhrawardi, Robb Report, 7 Mar. 2024 The suit alleges that another person rammed the gates at her community and that yet another person smashed her mailbox with a hammer to try to steal her mail. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 14 Mar. 2024 Players could see all the action as Mario leaped over barrels, grabbed power-up hammers and climbed to the top. Gieson Cacho, The Mercury News, 1 Mar. 2024
Verb
Construction companies helped to hammer together another strong month for the U.S. job market. Scott Horsley, NPR, 5 Apr. 2024 The group’s many videos have now been viewed tens of millions of times, all of them subtly hammering home the message that the ocean is awash in trash. Cara Buckley, New York Times, 26 Mar. 2024 During the central crisis of Beethoven’s Funeral March, hammering octaves in the bass register, again with the pedal held down, unleash a dissonant boom that is in some ways more unnerving than the corresponding passage in orchestral form. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 25 Mar. 2024 The president will hammer that message home in his appearance Wednesday in Maricopa County, an important swing county that flipped to Biden from former president Donald Trump in the last election. Jeanne Whalen, Washington Post, 20 Mar. 2024 Meanwhile, Trump continues to hammer Biden over high inflation and immigration as well as a variety of foreign policy issues. Libby Cathey, ABC News, 18 Mar. 2024 This hammered the resale value of used Model 3 sedans and Model Y crossovers just after Hertz had added tens of thousands of those vehicles to its fleet. Erik Schatzker, Fortune, 16 Mar. 2024 So much so that it is estimated to hammer down for between $950,000 to $1.25 million at the auction. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 14 Mar. 2024 Oh, and Ryan Mountcastle will continue to inexplicably hammer the Jays, and no one else. Daniel Kohn, SPIN, 27 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hammer.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English hamer, from Old English hamor; akin to Old High German hamar hammer, and perhaps to Old Church Slavonic kamen-, kamy stone, Greek akmē point, edge — more at edge

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hammer was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near hammer

Cite this Entry

“Hammer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hammer. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

hammer

1 of 2 noun
ham·​mer ˈham-ər How to pronounce hammer (audio)
1
a
: a hand tool that consists of a solid head set crosswise on a handle and is used for pounding (as in driving nails)
b
: a power tool for pounding
2
: something that resembles a hammer in shape or action (as the part of a gun whose striking action causes explosion of the charge)
3
4
: a heavy metal ball with a flexible handle that is thrown for distance in a track-and-field contest

hammer

2 of 2 verb
hammered; hammering ˈham-(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce hammer (audio)
1
: to strike blows with or as if with a hammer : pound
2
a
: to make repeated efforts
hammer away at one's lessons
b
: to emphasize (as an opinion) by repetition
hammers his point home
3
: to fasten, build, drive, or shape with a hammer
hammerer noun

Medical Definition

hammer

noun
ham·​mer ˈham-ər How to pronounce hammer (audio)

More from Merriam-Webster on hammer

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