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

Andrew Phillip Zaragoza, now 18 years old, was 16 when he was arrested and charged with beating his mother with a hammer and stabbing her to death in their townhouse in the 1000 block of Jeanett Way just north of the Town of Bel Air. David Anderson, baltimoresun.com, "Bel Air teen found guilty of killing his mother with a hammer sentenced to 15 years," 8 July 2019 The Chief Executive’s call for dialogue comes days after protestors used metal poles, hammers and carts to break into the Legislative Council complex on the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China. Time, "Hong Kong University Students Reject Invitation to Meet City's Leader for Closed-Door Talks," 5 July 2019 These are the facts, more or less: On Dec. 5, 1975, Ronald Egleton, of Luton, England, killed his wife, Barbara Egleton, bludgeoning her with a hammer and leaving her in the bathtub to drown. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, "David Cale Has a New Story to Tell: His Own," 3 July 2019 Dunning placed a hammer and nails, and a pad of paper with pens nearby. Mykal Mceldowney, Indianapolis Star, "God told him to build a cross. He left pen and paper, hammer and nails. The people came.," 26 June 2019 Two concrete grinders, a demolition hammer and a saw were reported taken June 14 from an unsecured storage locker on a construction site in the 1100 block of Laramie Ave. chicagotribune.com, "Blotter: Man charged with burglary at Wilmette Starbucks," 25 June 2019 That’s about 450 monkey generations, and during that time, archaeologists noticed some major changes in the stone hammers and how they were used. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Capuchin monkeys have a 3,000-year archaeological record," 24 June 2019 On the other side of the globe, in the Brazilian Amazon, palm nuts are smashed hammer-and-anvil style by capuchins — clever monkeys boasting the largest brain-to-body size ratio of any primate besides humans. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, "A Primer to Our Planet of Monkeys," 12 June 2019 One thing Dr Falótico and Dr Proffitt have noticed is that some of the sharp flakes that fly off when hammer meets anvil look identical to Stone Age blades made by human beings. The Economist, "Capuchin monkeys have been using stone tools for around 3,000 years," 24 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Her lone full-time employee is a craftsman who hammers a steady supply of fifty-five-gallon steel oil drums into sheet metal and refashions each one into five small charcoal stoves. Rowan Moore Gerety, Harper's magazine, "Downstream," 10 June 2019 Another is Carl Bernstein, the onetime Watergate sleuth, who has continually hammered Trump as a CNN commentator. Howard Kurtz, Fox News, "Crossing a line? Trump wants heads of CNN, NBC News fired," 31 Aug. 2018 The use of Mollie Tibbetts as another excuse to hammer on this theme, despite the wishes of some family members, may seem callous. Dara Lind, Vox, "Mollie Tibbetts’s family doesn’t want her death politicized. Trump is doing it anyway.," 22 Aug. 2018 Despite having won five of their past six entering the game, the Marlins allowed double-digit runs to baseball’s lowest-scoring team as the last-place Orioles hammered their pitchers 10-4 on Sunday afternoon at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Andre C. Fernandez, miamiherald, "Still no sweeps: Miami Marlins fail to close out last-place Baltimore Orioles," 17 June 2018 Chicago hammered him for six runs in four innings and the right-hander also tied his season-high with four walks. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "After homestand ends in disaster, Rockies must rise from the mat for nine-game divisional road trip," 17 June 2019 After holding the runner at third on a fielder’s choice, Cashner threw a hanging slider to Gurriel, who hammered it toward right-center field for what seemingly was destined to be a go-ahead three-run homer. Nathan Ruiz, baltimoresun.com, "Richie Martin's insurance shot boosts Orioles to 4-1 win as they even series with Astros," 8 June 2019 The speckled pattern on the outersole of my originals was hand-hammered to grip the court, Mintun said. Washington Post, "They’re back: The shoes I wore in junior high school," 6 June 2019 In fact, they should be hammered less in order to make California a more inviting place to invest and create jobs. George Skelton, The Mercury News, "Skelton: How California can become a tuition-free college state," 11 June 2019

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

12 Jul 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

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characterized by aphorism

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