ham·​mer | \ ˈha-mər How to pronounce hammer (audio) \

Definition of hammer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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
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
under the hammer
: for sale at auction


hammered; hammering\ ˈha-​mər-​iŋ How to pronounce hammering (audio) , ˈham-​riŋ \

Definition of hammer (Entry 2 of 2)

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

1a : 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

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Other Words from hammer


hammerer \ ˈha-​mər-​ər How to pronounce hammerer (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for hammer

Synonyms: Verb

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun When questioned later by detective Mark Fallis, Galey admitted to killing Self with a knife and killing her daughter with a knife and hitting her with a hammer. Steven Mross, Arkansas Online, "Spa City woman guilty in deaths of mom, child," 23 Nov. 2019 The Nevada Supreme Court on Friday ruled that a murder suspect’s extradition to Colorado is warranted in a 35-year-old cold case involving four victims, including a child, who were bludgeoned to death with a hammer. Kieran Nicholson, The Denver Post, "Nevada Supreme Court rules accused Colorado hammer killer should be extradite to face charges," 22 Nov. 2019 The suspect then attacked the victim with a hammer before pushing the man onto the tracks and fleeing, according to police. Tim Fitzsimons, NBC News, "Hammer-wielding man yelled gay slur, pushed subway rider on tracks, NYPD says," 22 Nov. 2019 The Discovery Channel will remove a scene from Sunday’s episode of River of No Return during which a cast member hits a horse with a hammer, EW has confirmed. Rachel Yang, EW.com, "Discovery will pull a scene from River of No Return where cast member hits horse with hammer," 31 Oct. 2019 The man is accused of spraying pawn shop employees in the face with pepper spray before breaking the glass case with a hammer to remove the jewelry, according to a Silent Witness flyer. Chelsea Hofmann, azcentral, "Man who used pepper spray in Phoenix pawn shop robbery sought by police," 5 Oct. 2019 Moody said Portland police later reached out to the bus driver but no other passengers, including the person with the hammer. oregonlive, "Key protest witness nowhere near bus during Portland hammer attack, lawyer says," 12 Sep. 2019 Miller allegedly admitted hitting the man with a hammer. Emily Cutts, Twin Cities, "Suspect charged with killing Winona man, burning down his house," 29 Aug. 2019 Distraught by a snake targeting her beloved backyard birds and squirrels, an 89-year-old woman took matters into her own hands, killing the 6-foot-long serpent with a hammer to its head. Markeith Cromartie, USA TODAY, "89-year-old Florida woman battles and kills 6-foot snake after it eats visiting birds," 9 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Uber is used to being hammered by regulators around the world, but TfL has presented the firm with a real headache. David Meyer, Fortune, "‘Not Fit and Proper:’ How Uber Could Lose 1 of Its Top 5 Markets," 25 Nov. 2019 The proceeds were meant to help fund state and city transportation projects and provide some financial aid to taxi drivers hammered by the new competition. BostonGlobe.com, "Seeing red," 21 Nov. 2019 Japanese technology company SoftBank Group lost more than $6 billion last quarter as its earnings were hammered by money-losing investments, including a bailout for office-space sharing startup WeWork. CBS News, "SoftBank founder admits mistakes with WeWork investment," 6 Nov. 2019 Biogen’s stock got hammered, dropping more than 8% that day. Ted Whitford, STAT, "I used to work on Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug. Is the company spinning bad data?," 28 Oct. 2019 Andre Vilas-Boas and Tim Sherwood were both out of their depth, couldn't get any of the squad on their side, and were routinely hammered by sides above them. SI.com, "7 Crazy Seasons That Needed an Amazon 'All or Nothing' Documentary," 21 Oct. 2019 North Dakota’s predicted corn yield was increased by 1 bushel per acre, but that estimate was made before the state was hammered by as much as 30 inches (76 centimeters) of snow. Washington Post, "Some US farmers get a reprieve at end of challenging year," 17 Oct. 2019 On the one hand, rush defense is often cyclical — pathetic one week, but effective the next after days of getting verbally hammered by the coaches about tackling cleaner and getting off blocks better. Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, "Broncos’ blueprint to a win over Chiefs? Colts, Texans may have provided the “Beat K.C.” guide.," 16 Oct. 2019 Like communities across the country, Bristol and New Britain are getting hammered by a dramatic upheaval in the market for recyclables. Don Stacom, courant.com, "As trade war spurs dramatic upheaval in the market for recyclables, Connecticut communities lose hundreds of thousands of dollars," 9 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hammer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hammer


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


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

History and Etymology for hammer


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

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Time Traveler for hammer

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for hammer

Last Updated

29 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Hammer.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hammer. Accessed 11 December 2019.

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More Definitions for hammer


How to pronounce hammer (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hammer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a tool that has a heavy metal head attached to a handle and that is used for hitting nails or breaking things apart
: a similar tool made usually of wood and used especially for hitting a surface to make a loud noise
: the part of a gun that strikes a charge causing the gun to shoot



English Language Learners Definition of hammer (Entry 2 of 2)

: to force (something) into a particular place or shape by hitting it with a hammer
: to attach (something) with a hammer and nails
: to hit (something or someone) in a very forceful way


ham·​mer | \ ˈha-mər How to pronounce hammer (audio) \

Kids Definition of hammer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a tool consisting of a head fastened to a handle and used for pounding something (as a nail)
2 : something like a hammer in shape or action an auctioneer's hammer
3 : a heavy metal ball with a flexible handle thrown for distance in a track-and-field contest ( hammer throw )


hammered; hammering

Kids Definition of hammer (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to strike with a hammer
2 : to fasten or build (as by nailing) with a hammer Hammer the lid shut.
3 : to hit something hard and repeatedly She hammered on the door.
4 : to beat hard His heart hammered.
hammer out
: to produce or bring about by persistent effort “They hammered out those rules after the failure ten years ago.”— Lois Lowry, The Giver


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

Medical Definition of hammer

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Comments on hammer

What made you want to look up hammer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


heavy with or as if with moisture

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