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

Once collected, Wilson tells me, the wire is cut using heavy-duty pliers and shaped flat with a metal hammer and an industrial anvil. National Geographic, "These Artists Are Making Jewelry to Help Protect Their Country's Wildlife," 17 May 2018 Two brothers set about chiseling slabs of milky gray limestone, each using a hammer bluntly pounding the end of a long, thin, and sharp instrument. Smithsonian, "These Two Brothers Are Helping Keep Armenian’s Stone Carving Tradition Alive," 24 Apr. 2018 Residential video cameras show a man walk to the back door of the house and use a hammer to smash a window on the door, reached in and unlocked the deadbolt, police said. Kathleen Mcwilliams, courant.com, "Watertown Police Seek Burglary Suspect Who Took Flat Screen TV," 18 Apr. 2018 Markie, for instance, is dared to smash Olivia’s hand with a hammer. Gary Thompson, Philly.com, "Nary a scare in 'Truth or Dare' | Movie review," 11 Apr. 2018 The dares get increasingly macabre—in one scene, Olivia has her hand broken with a hammer after Markie gets dared to do it—but what's more surprising is the seriousness with which the filmmakers treat the moments of truth-telling. Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, "Truth or Dare is a middling effort from a studio capable of much more," 18 Apr. 2018 Markie, for instance, is dared to smash Olivia’s hand with a hammer. Gary Thompson, charlotteobserver, "Movie review: Nary a scare in ‘Truth or Dare’ | Charlotte Observer," 12 Apr. 2018 Bahrain’s Sunni-rule government increasingly has wielded denaturalization as a hammer to beat back dissent on the Shi’ite-majority island. Jon Gambrell, BostonGlobe.com, "Bahrain revokes citizenship of 115 people in mass trial," 16 May 2018 Head took a hammer from the store’s tool section and used it to break the glass on an iPad display, police wrote in his arrest affidavit. Gal Tziperman Lotan, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Man used hammer from Target tool aisle to smash display case, steal 17 iPads, police say," 12 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But Myers also hammered Bryce over a variety of issues, accusing him of flip-flopping on things such as immigration and public subsidies for the massive Foxconn project being built in southeastern Wisconsin. Mary Spicuzza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Cathy Myers, Randy Bryce face off in first Democratic primary debate in bid for Paul Ryan's seat," 8 July 2018 Even with low unemployment numbers, Democrats have been hammering home points about raising wages and providing job training for more people. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "A new Pew poll finds immigration has overtaken health care and the economy as a top 2018 issue.," 20 June 2018 Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, the only no-brainer pick in the expansion draft according to McPhee, carried a .947 save percentage through three rounds until the Capitals started hammering pucks over his glove-side shoulder. Alex Prewitt, SI.com, "From Misfits to Magic, the Vegas Golden Knights Accomplish an Impossible Story," 8 June 2018 To prevent a scenario where Democrats get boxed out of both slots in the top-two primary, the DCCC's independent group has also been hammering Republican Scott Baugh with negative ads. Maeve Reston, CNN, "Dana Rohrabacher rival takes on his ties to Russia with help from Seinfeld star," 24 May 2018 Still, one of the biggest points of emphasis this month has been hammering home fundamentals into a young receiving corps with a singular message in mind. Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press, "Get open: Michigan football receivers work to fix greatest flaw," 18 Apr. 2018 The Trump administration has been hammering Schaaf for giving advance warning about the operation. Dan Nowicki, azcentral, "Donald Trump in San Diego: President tells military a border wall will be '99.5 percent successful'," 13 Mar. 2018 Will someone try to push through the storm that is most likely hammering the top three at the moment, or will everyone wait until the wind dies down? Jake Berkowitz, Anchorage Daily News, "Jake Berkowitz: An apparent wrong turn has erased Petit’s Iditarod lead," 12 Mar. 2018 Daniel Rosenthal, co-chairman of Kroll’s advisory practice on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), says the U.S. has been hammering China for years for using national security as a pretext. Bloomberg.com, "Trump’s Hard-Line Take on Trade Plays Into China’s Hands," 8 Mar. 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

4 Oct 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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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).


to reject or criticize sharply

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