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 hammer (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 hammer (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 For this task, my dad used an ordinary hammer from his tool box. Karl Merton Ferron, baltimoresun.com, 8 Oct. 2021 According to authorities, Johnson used a hammer and a screwdriver in the horrific slayings. Kyle Morris, Fox News, 6 Oct. 2021 Wielding a hammer effectively requires impeccable timing. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 6 Oct. 2021 As the two sides return to the negotiating table, the union now wields a big hammer: the ability to strike at any time. New York Times, 4 Oct. 2021 Use a center punch and a hammer to mark the location of the hole and to give the drill bit a place to start without wandering. Bradley Ford, Popular Mechanics, 30 Sep. 2021 The camera system recorded the child going to the family’s garage and getting a screwdriver and hammer. Michael Williams, Dallas News, 28 Sep. 2021 In the same way a hammer is a tool and it can be wielded to destroy a house or to build a home, capitalism — as the most powerful tool in modern times — when levered correctly can be used to profitably create a more just future. Afdhel Aziz, Forbes, 27 Sep. 2021 Not every problem is a nail, and not every solution requires a hammer. Michael Schneider, Variety, 23 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Republicans hammer it as reckless spending by an out-of-control government, and Sanders' embrace may help reinforce their depiction of it as a leftists' dream. Susan Page, USA TODAY, 11 Aug. 2021 Now is not the time to hammer food establishments trying to crawl out of the pandemic. Chris Edwards, National Review, 19 Sep. 2021 McCullers threw 6 2/3 impressive innings in a 3-0 victory Tuesday night before the largest crowd in the majors this season — 52,692 fans, many who came to hammer the Houston players. Joe Reedy, ajc, 4 Aug. 2021 The Republican effort to hammer Democrats over the All-Star Game's location is a glimpse into Georgia's future as one of the nation's most important battleground states. Eric Bradner, CNN, 13 July 2021 Republicans have sought to hammer Harris’s immigration portfolio as a weak point in the Biden administration. Washington Post, 7 June 2021 Needs to continue to hammer in route-running mechanics. USA TODAY, 27 Apr. 2021 American students returned to classrooms over the last month in many places just as the delta variant started to hammer the country, triggering dozens of outbreaks in schools. BostonGlobe.com, 3 Sep. 2021 Clearly disappointed, a coalition of veteran and newer legislators question participating in the special session and watching as Republicans hammer through an elections bill and the rest of Abbott’s conservative agenda. Dallas News, 22 Aug. 2021

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

10 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hammer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hammer. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on hammer

Nglish: Translation of hammer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hammer for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hammer


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