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
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from hammer


hammerer \ ˈha-​mər-​ər How to pronounce hammerer (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for hammer

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of hammer in a Sentence

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 After causing dysfunction within the building, Royden, a Canterbury resident, is accused of running to smash the document's protective case with a hammer. Anthony Leonardi, Washington Examiner, "US tourists helped thwart theft of Magna Carta from English cathedral," 29 Jan. 2020 Paul Burch said multiple witnesses saw the suspect, armed with a hammer, approaching the deputies. Levi Edwards | Ledwards@al.com, al, "Mobile deputy involved in shooting at Walmart; suspect killed," 9 Jan. 2020 On the day of the elections, over appetizers, her brother-in-law suggested that one pro-democracy candidate had organized an attack against himself by hammer-wielding thugs to win sympathy. Alexandra Stevenson, New York Times, "Hong Kong Considers the Future: ‘If You Can Afford It, Leave’," 3 Jan. 2020 So far, Project Thor, named after the hammer-wielding Norse god, has received $1.27 million in grants from the Department of Local Affairs and another $1.5 million from local governments. Judith Kohler, The Denver Post, "Tired of waiting for broadband, rural communities are tapping grants, partnerships to get modern internet," 30 Dec. 2019 The medical examiner said she had been killed with a hammer. Jacques Kelly, baltimoresun.com, "Harold A. Rose, retired master detective and Kennedy assassination investigator, dies," 7 Dec. 2019 Astros owner Jim Crane wielded his own hammer by dismissing Lunhow and Hinch later Monday. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "With spotlight on Astros' punishment, a look at some of the most notable sanctions for cheating in sports," 14 Jan. 2020 That none of this happened when Commissioner Rob Manfred dropped his hammer on the Astros Monday was both predictable and regrettable. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "If Louisville basketball's banner deserves an asterisk, so does the Houston Astros'," 13 Jan. 2020 Anthony Walker The Jaguars didn’t have their usual hammer. Joel A. Erickson, Indianapolis Star, "Thumbs up, thumbs down: Breakdowns in passing game, pass defense send Colts spiraling," 30 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The return of the hammering main motif feels all the more apocalyptically abrupt. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The Pittsburgh Symphony’s Savage Precision," 3 Feb. 2020 The Ducks got there by hammering Utah 37-15 Friday in Santa Clara, California to win the Pac-12 Championship. oregonlive, "To win the Rose Bowl the Oregon Ducks need to play like they did in Santa Clara: Issues & Answers," 8 Dec. 2019 The hosts came in on a high after hammering Wolverhampton Wanderers, 5-2, three days prior. Si Wire, SI.com, "Chelsea vs. Liverpool Live Stream: Watch Online, TV Channel, Time," 22 Sep. 2019 The Tigers average 35 points and 469.5 yards per game on offense, slipping past SEC entry Ole Miss 15-10 in Week 1 before hammering Southern 55-24 last week. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, "South Alabama looking for better defensive start vs. ‘explosive’ Memphis," 9 Sep. 2019 Also imperiled were the Bahamas, where canned food and bottled water were disappearing quickly from shelves and the sound of hammering echoed across the islands as people boarded up their homes. Ellis Rua, BostonGlobe.com, "Fierce Category 4 Dorian strengthens en route to Bahamas," 31 Aug. 2019 Also imperiled were the Bahamas, where the sound of hammering echoed across the islands as people boarded up their homes. Author: Adriana Gomez Licon, Ellis Rua, Anchorage Daily News, "Hurricane Dorian puts 10 million Floridians in its path," 30 Aug. 2019 The advent of the Phillips-head screw in the 1930s changed everything and began the slow movement from hammering nails to driving screws. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "When To Use Nails Vs. Screws," 6 Aug. 2019 The smell of fresh cut wood and paint filled the air and the sound of hammering echoed through the halls. Katie V. Jones, baltimoresun.com, "Build day for Howard County Summer Theatre's 'The Pajama Game' is a team effort," 28 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hammer

Time Traveler for hammer

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for hammer

Last Updated

8 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hammer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hammering. Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hammer


How to pronounce hammer (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!