ham·​mer | \ˈha-mər \

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, 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 \ noun

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

And acid wash your hard drive with the Bleach Bit, and eliminate the evidence and then have an aide smash up your devices with hammers and get away with it. Fox News, "McCarthy: Mueller is pursuing obstruction case against Trump," 21 Aug. 2018 In her experiment, Darling asked about 100 volunteers to hit small robots with hammers. Hiawatha Bray, BostonGlobe.com, "Afraid of robots? The feeling is mutual," 20 June 2018 Inmates beat multiple employees with hammers and stabbed them with scissors, according to prison workers who called 911. Ames Alexander, charlotteobserver, "NC prison leaders placed on leave after fatal attacks | Charlotte Observer," 31 Jan. 2018 This kit includes a 20v cordless drill, a hammer, screws, wrenches, drill bits, and tons more. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Kickstart Your Tool Collection With 30% Off This Project Kit," 16 Oct. 2018 This research, however, hammers home the idea that one size does not fit all. Susan Pinker, WSJ, "When a Better Neighborhood Is Bad for Boys," 26 Sep. 2018 The cost of hammers, screwdrivers and woodworking equipment from China will go up, too. Bruce Einhorn, latimes.com, "Trump's trade war is about to hit home — and your home is no exception," 11 July 2018 In a hall full of hammers, bows and lightsabers, her weapon of choice for fighting a disease that robs its victims of their dignity is decidedly neurological. Sarah Bahr, Indianapolis Star, "Playing video games could help fight Alzheimer’s, Down syndrome," 1 July 2018 He was escorted by a group of 10 men to the back of the building, beaten with a hammer, and then loaded into a car carrying the Temple’s chief of security, who Amani saw grabbing a machete, according to the episode. Jeff Truesdell, PEOPLE.com, "4 Things You’ll Learn About the Murderous Nation of Yahweh on People Magazine Investigates: Cults," 22 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Nelson and outside Democratic groups hammered Scott for his prior support for repeal, but Florida is one of several states where health care didn’t seem to hurt the Republican candidates as much as the party feared. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Republican Rick Scott appears to win Florida Senate race, defeating incumbent Bill Nelson — but recount possible," 7 Nov. 2018 But in hailing a countercultural philosophy as the next great mainstream movement in architecture, will the exhibition also hammer a nail in its coffin? Diana Budds, Curbed, "Can hip-hop make architecture more equitable?," 8 Oct. 2018 Meanwhile, red-state Democrats are getting hammered at home with ads from the opposing side. Nicole Gaudiano, USA TODAY, "Red-state Democrats could put party in bind over Brett Kavanaugh," 12 July 2018 Dunleavy has hammered Walker over the smaller yearly check that Alaskans receive from the oil-wealth fund. Becky Bohrer, Anchorage Daily News, "Former Sen. Mark Begich’s entry causes angst in Alaska governor’s race," 4 July 2018 In the days since, the White House and the Republican National Committee hammered Democrats as the party tried to turn the issue to the GOP's political advantage. Felicia Sonmez, chicagotribune.com, "'Abolish ICE' demands draw White House rebuke," 4 July 2018 Hawley has repeatedly hammered McCaskill on the campaign trail for that vote. Bryan Lowry, kansascity, "Newly open seat on Supreme Court puts pressure on McCaskill in key Senate race," 27 June 2018 Speedy Williams and Shaun Francis hammered back-to-back shots at Pickens but couldn't score a third for Louisville City. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville City FC beats Nashville, advances to US Open Cup quarterfinal," 20 June 2018 Numerous Android phone makers, including Google, Huawei, and HTC, have dumped the headphone jack for USB-C audio, but Samsung has thus far resisted the trend, while hammering home the presence of the port in ads and commercials. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "Samsung may be plotting a Galaxy S10 blitz with 5G, folding screens...and no headphone jack," 26 Oct. 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

29 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

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 \

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 \

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

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