hammer and tongs


: with great force, vigor, or violence
went at it hammer and tongs
hammer-and-tongs adjective

Examples of hammer and tongs in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The two conservative groups that brought the case were targeted by Harris in 2012-13, right around the time the IRS was going hammer and tongs after Tea Party groups. Dan McLaughlin, National Review, 1 July 2021 Two teams who seem destined to slug it out in the lower reaches of the table this season going hammer and tongs at each other never makes for a good watch. SI.com, 18 Sep. 2019 The Reds went hammer and tongs in their efforts to find a second, though their hosts were able to hold off the onslaught until the final 10 minutes of the clash. SI.com, 15 Aug. 2019 With two moderate Pyrenean climbs, Thursday’s Stage 12 from Toulouse, where cassoulet and rugby are both big, wasn’t tough enough for Thomas and his rivals to go at each other hammer and tongs. Washington Post, 18 July 2019 The way to stand out from the others is to go hammer and tongs for the opponents’ jugulars, or to try to sound more extreme than the others. Jim Jones, idahostatesman, 18 May 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hammer and tongs.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1780, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hammer and tongs was circa 1780

Dictionary Entries Near hammer and tongs

Cite this Entry

“Hammer and tongs.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hammer%20and%20tongs. Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

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