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 Take some sand paper and rub the seeds, or lightly scar them with a file, or lightly tap them with a hammer. Janet Carson, Arkansas Online, "From one, come many," 18 Oct. 2020 Then in May, a soldier was arrested and accused of breaking into her former boyfriend's apartment, shooting him and attacking him with a hammer. Manny Fernandez New York Times, Star Tribune, "A year of heartbreak and bloodshed at Fort Hood Army Base," 9 Sep. 2020 On Saturday, the task force announced the arrest of Aaron Neal, 20, who broke into an ATM with a hammer Monday and live-streamed it on social media. Washington Post, "Divisions over Chicago protests highlight challenges for activists and police," 15 Aug. 2020 Afterward, walk the deck with a hammer or drill to drive elevated nails and screwheads flush with the wood. Clint Carter, Popular Mechanics, "How to Make Your Deck Last an Extra 10 Years," 22 July 2020 Guillén's body was found buried along the Leon River in June after she was allegedly bludgeoned to death with a hammer at Fort Hood in April. Sonia Ramirez, Houston Chronicle, "BBQ benefit and car cruise being held in honor of Spc. Vanessa Guillén," 10 July 2020 After Peters put the Ravens in position to drop the hammer with his brilliant interception, a pre-halftime drive stalled because the team’s blockers could not keep Houston defenders from collapsing Jackson’s pocket. Childs Walker, baltimoresun.com, "Five Things We Learned from the Ravens’ 33-16 win over the Houston Texans," 21 Sep. 2020 While the hammer wasn’t their favorite, the pliers and screwdrivers were top-quality, ultimately earning a spot on our list. Melissa Lee, USA TODAY, "The 5 best Amazon deals you can get this Wednesday," 19 Aug. 2020 Wojciech Nowicki throws a world leader in the hammer in Poland. oregonlive, "Ryan Crouser has quite a day in Des Moines, and Sam Prakel does too: Oregon track & field rundown," 31 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb DeWine then spent Friday traveling to Youngstown, Toledo and Dayton to hammer home that point. Jessie Balmert, The Enquirer, "Live: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine gives update as state passes 5,000 COVID-19 deaths," 13 Oct. 2020 Their power arms and their fleet feet will challenge a Braves team that can hammer opponents into submission with a slew of MVP-caliber bats. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Marlins-Braves NLDS preview: Schedule, prediction, pitchers for showdown between rivals," 6 Oct. 2020 The Big Ten Parents United letter continues to hammer at three specific topics: the Big Ten’s lack of transparency, its lack of communication with the parents and the lack of a plan for what comes next. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Ohio State football parents pressure Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren as leagues confront pandemic practices," 27 Aug. 2020 Viper Imaging is partnering with ThinkIoT Smarter Store Solutions on a temperature scanner for retail businesses as the economy continues to hammer its way back from the COVID-19 pandemic. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al, "Birmingham company marketing thermal temperature screener," 1 Oct. 2020 That points to hefty price cuts to shift inventory that could hammer the profits of manufacturers. Rebecca Smith, Bloomberg.com, "U.K. Car Market Reopens With No China-Style Rebound in Sight," 7 June 2020 That’s why the multi-country BCG Covid-19 trials are so important to hammer down effects, DiNardo says. Gayathri Vaidyanathan, Wired, "Could a Century-Old TB Shot Protect Against Other Respiratory Diseases?," 21 Sep. 2020 There is plenty of pop culture props in the images, even a gigantic dragon, to hammer home the feel of the place. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego Comic-Con reveals museum plans, prepares for summer 2021 opening," 10 Sep. 2020 But he's moved far enough to the left that many Republicans still hammer him as a radical. Arkansas Online, "In Kenosha, Biden to test his promise to unify the nation," 3 Sep. 2020

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

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hammer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hammer. Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

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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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