hammer

1 of 2

noun

ham·​mer ˈha-mər How to pronounce hammer (audio)
1
a
: 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
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
4

hammer

2 of 2

verb

hammered; hammering ˈha-mər-iŋ How to pronounce hammer (audio)
ˈham-riŋ

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

1
a
: 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
hammerer noun
Phrases
under the hammer
: for sale at auction

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
In October, an assailant looking for then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi broke into her San Francisco home and used a hammer to attack her husband, Paul, who suffered blunt-force injuries and was hospitalized. Susan Montoya Bryan, BostonGlobe.com, 6 Jan. 2023 According to the federal complaint, DePape allegedly used a hammer to break into the Pelosi residence in the upscale Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco just before 2 a.m. local time on Oct. 28. Meredith Deliso, ABC News, 14 Dec. 2022 Court records show DePape allegedly used the hammer to break into the House speaker’s San Francisco home early Friday and rousted her husband, who was sleeping upstairs. Maria Sacchetti, Anchorage Daily News, 3 Nov. 2022 According to state and federal complaints filed Monday, DePape allegedly used a hammer to break into Pelosi’s San Francisco home early Friday. Holly Bailey, Washington Post, 1 Nov. 2022 The guard heard a bang — a man police later identified as David DePape, 42, of Richmond had used a hammer to break the glass backdoor and enter the Pelosi home, authorities said. Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, 31 Oct. 2022 While automation may be a worthy pursuit in some cases, many corporations have used the RPA hammer rather indiscriminately. Manish Garg, Forbes, 4 Oct. 2022 Researchers used a hammer and chisel to harmlessly remove tiny pieces of coral from reefs at several sites near Oahu and installed that coral into the tank. NBC News, 10 Mar. 2022 Police said two people walked into the shop about 5:45 p.m. and that one used a hammer to smash several display cases. The Washington Post, Arkansas Online, 7 Feb. 2022
Verb
Hindenburg Research’s report on Adani Group continues to hammer Gautam Adani’s conglomerate, with shares falling as much as 10% in India today. Alan Murray, Fortune, 27 Jan. 2023 Hops's intent was to create an inexpensive sports car in the theme of the 289 Cobra or the Sunbeam Tiger: a hoot to hammer through the twisty parts. Brock Yates, Car and Driver, 29 Dec. 2022 This is all part of Putin’s misguided, and likely futile, effort to hammer the nation into submission – a hail of rockets designed to knock out electricity, water, and other critical civilian infrastructure as winter looms. David A. Andelman, CNN, 17 Nov. 2022 In the face of all this pecking, biologists have hypothesized broadly about woodpeckers’ ability to hammer their heads into the trees without hurting themselves. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 14 July 2022 Fox News and the other propaganda outlets will gleefully hammer the nails into Trump’s political coffin. Michael Tomasky, The New Republic, 11 Dec. 2022 The Romanian deadlift will hammer both your glutes and your hamstrings. Brett Williams, Men's Health, 30 Nov. 2022 In the early 2000s, the criminal would hammer his victims to death and his every move cast fear across Seoul. Chaise Sanders, Country Living, 4 Nov. 2022 According to a Monmouth University poll released earlier this week, more than four out of five Americans still rank inflation as an extremely important or very important issue, so Republicans will continue to hammer Democrats on it through November. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, 7 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near hammer

Cite this Entry

“Hammer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hammer. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

hammer

1 of 2 noun
ham·​mer ˈham-ər How to pronounce hammer (audio)
1
a
: a hand tool that consists of a solid head set crosswise on a handle and is used for pounding (as in driving nails)
b
: a power tool for pounding
2
: something that resembles a hammer in shape or action (as the part of a gun whose striking action causes explosion of the charge)
3
4
: a heavy metal ball with a flexible handle that is thrown for distance in a track-and-field contest

hammer

2 of 2 verb
hammered; hammering ˈham-(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce hammer (audio)
1
: to strike blows with or as if with a hammer : pound
2
a
: to make repeated efforts
hammer away at one's lessons
b
: to emphasize (as an opinion) by repetition
hammers his point home
3
: to fasten, build, drive, or shape with a hammer
hammerer noun

Medical Definition

hammer

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

More from Merriam-Webster on hammer

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