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

The action of his hammer sends fault lines into the wider structure. Georgina Voss, The Atlantic, "Brexit Could Cripple Britain’s Ports," 20 June 2018 Arizona State's Maggie Ewen didn't bring her hammer to the NCAA Championships, and will focus on the shot and discus. Ken Goe, OregonLive.com, "One more time for magic to happen in 'historic' Hayward Field: Oregon track & field rundown," 6 June 2018 As the heat drops its hammer, my personal quest for the cool drinks of summer cranks up again, a sure sign that the season has turned. Alison Cook, Houston Chronicle, "Drink this: Kernel of Truth cocktail at Coltivare," 6 June 2018 That's when Stanford began swinging his hammer at them. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "'Stop! Or I'll hurl these baked beans at you!' And that's what this Florida deputy did," 5 June 2018 Thor will put down his hammer and pick up a green flag on May 27. Heather Tucker, USA TODAY, "'Avengers' star Chris Hemsworth will wave green flag to start 2018 Indianapolis 500," 14 May 2018 The Warriors won the game by putting down their customary third-quarter hammer, led by Stephen Curry, who scored 13 points in a little over eight minutes. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, "Warriors vs. Rockets is the matchup we’ve waited for," 8 May 2018 Next to Safran’s body was a hammer, according to an NYPD source. Chris Harris, PEOPLE.com, "Psychology Professor and Dad-of-2 Is Killed With Hammer in Brooklyn Home in Suspected Botched Burglary," 8 May 2018 Then Tristan, a native of Toronto of all things, threw his velvet hammer up, and the Raptors trailed the rest of the way. Bill Livingston, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Cavaliers, never leading until overtime, steal the opener, 113-112 -- Bill Livingston," 2 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The dress had just enough modern touches to look trendy—a touch of sheer, without hammering us over the head with it—paired with a classic sweetheart neckline and thin straps. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Amal Clooney Accepts UN Global Citizens Award," 6 Dec. 2018 In step, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch saw her salary soar by millions, reaching nearly $19 million in 2015—a point lawmakers hammered her for during a House Oversight Committee hearing in September of 2016. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Years after Mylan’s epic EpiPen price hikes, it finally gets a generic rival," 17 Aug. 2018 Already 0 for 3 with a pair of strikeouts, Thames jumped on a 2-0 fastball and hammered it out to right-center to give Milwaukee its first lead of the night. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 6, Reds 4: Aguilar, Thames power comeback victory," 28 June 2018 Abrams has campaigned as a liberal, but her primary opponent has hammered her for cutting deals with Republicans in Georgia’s General Assembly. Washington Post, "2018 midterms show start of Democratic scramble for 2020," 21 May 2018 If the umbrella top is facing the wind, Mother Nature will hammer it farther into the sand. Katja Vujić, BostonGlobe.com, "Here’s how to plant a beach umbrella so it doesn’t blow away," 2 May 2018 However, with two outs, Dejean left a pitch in the zone and Garrett Hable hammered it for the winning RBI single and the game-stealing moment. Hank Brady, NOLA.com, "Benton 9, Belle Chasse 8 (Game 2): Garrett Hable's late game hit eliminates Cardinals in epic 15-inning battle," 28 Apr. 2018 His teammates mobbed him in the outfield grass just past first base, pulling Altherr’s jersey and hammering him with fists. Matt Breen, Philly.com, "Phillies sweep Pirates on Aaron Altherr's walk-off single in 11th inning," 22 Apr. 2018 Instead of having to debate or defend his ideas, Bolsonaro stayed in his hospital bed and continued to hammer away at his campaign themes via Facebook Lives and Twitter. Peter Prengaman, The Seattle Times, "A rise from marginal lawmaker to presidential front-runner," 27 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

19 Apr 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).


marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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