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
c : malleus
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

beat, draw, forge, pound

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Examples of hammer in a Sentence


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

Her mother brought her back, smashed her laptop with a hammer and threatened to do the same to her fingers, according to Gypsy. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "How Gypsy Rose Blanchard's Age Remained a Mystery Her Whole Life," 22 Mar. 2019 Prosecutors said in a charging document the fishing vessel, the Captain Billy Haver, was sailing some 55 miles off Nantucket with seven crew members aboard when Vazquez assaulted one crew member with a hammer in one hand and a knife in the other. Paulina Dedaj, Fox News, "Man arrested in Virginia, accused of multiple murders, is DACA recipient, source says," 28 Sep. 2018 The value that blacksmiths bring to a project is not the worth of the metal itself, but rather what it's transformed into by the craftsman's hammer. Brett Martin, Popular Mechanics, "What It's Like to Be a Modern-Day Blacksmith," 15 Nov. 2017 That’s when the Commerce Department brought the hammer down, banning American firms from selling electronic parts to the smartphone maker. Adam K. Raymond, Daily Intelligencer, "U.S. Cuts Deal With Sanctioned Chinese Tech Company ZTE," 7 June 2018 Thicken: Crack open a coconut with a hammer, strain out water, cut flesh into chunks, blend to a pulp, strain and cook to a custard, 2 hours. Leah Eskin, charlotteobserver, "Secret to faster Jamaican fish stew: Canned coconut milk | Charlotte Observer," 17 Apr. 2018 And the maple hammer, this menu’s dark-bitter-spiritous entry, is rich in flavor, with the deep notes of maple and walnut trailing the finish. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, "White Cap brings great cocktails and surfer vibe to the Outer Sunset," 9 Jan. 2018 By contrast, this latest bit of research hammers the gas, forcing it, like a sulky teenager, to tidy away its qubits. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Rough-and-ready quantum memory may link disparate quantum systems," 9 Nov. 2018 Meanwhile, her beau Travis Scott donned a serious Iron Man outfit, and their daughter, Stormi Webster, transformed into Thor, complete with a mini hammer. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kylie Jenner Just Took Out a Gigantic Billboard for Travis Scott's Birthday," 27 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In fact, they should be hammered less in order to make California a more inviting place to invest and create jobs. George Skelton, The Mercury News, "Skelton: How California can become a tuition-free college state," 11 June 2019 The Braves hammered Urena for the second time this season at Marlins Park. Wells Dusenbury, sun-sentinel.com, "Braves shell Urena, Marlins’ bats shut down by Soroka in blowout," 8 June 2019 My heart was hammering from fear and my brain was alert with rage. Michael Lindsay-hogg, Town & Country, "Brando in a Blue Blazer," 22 Aug. 2013 Metals: Mixed metals are still popular, as are hammered metals. Diane Cowen, Houston Chronicle, "Arteriors new collection remains current, edgy," 13 June 2018 Remember — Congress’ failure to raise the debt limit early enough in 2011 prompted Standard & Poor’s to lower the nation’s credit rating, hammering stocks and consumer and business confidence. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "The economy is humming. So why do experts foresee a recession in 2020?," 11 June 2018 So the governor's patting himself on the back for a budget while hammering Democrats for the tax hike that enabled him to pat himself on the back for the budget. Ben Joravsky, Chicago Reader, "Politics With friends like Republican Jeanne Ives, Illinois women don’t need enemies," 5 June 2018 Hundreds of snowplows and other vehicles were deployed to clear roadways in Boston and surrounding areas as the blizzard hammered the region, covering streets in heavy snow. Laney Ruckstuhl, BostonGlobe.com, "Snowplows answer the call to duty in blizzard," 13 Mar. 2018 The market had held up for much of the week as stock markets were hammered. Bloomberg, Fortune, "The U.S. Junk-Bond Market Just Had Its Worst Week in 2 Years," 10 Feb. 2018

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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Statistics for hammer

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for hammer

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

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More Definitions for hammer



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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More from Merriam-Webster on hammer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hammer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hammer

Spanish Central: Translation of hammer

Nglish: Translation of hammer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hammer for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hammer

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).


showing courage and determination

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