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 hammer (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 hammer (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for hammer

Synonyms: Verb

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Lannon is accused of breaking into the 66-year-old’s New Jersey home, just south of Philadelphia, and beating him to death with a hammer, according to an affidavit. NBC News, "Man held in New Jersey killing charged in deaths of ex-wife, two others in New Mexico," 27 Mar. 2021 In New Jersey, Lannon is accused of breaking into the Philadephia-area home of Michael Dabkowski, 66, and beating him to death with a hammer. Fox News, "Sean Lannon, held in NJ, formally charged in New Mexico deaths of ex-wife, 2 friends," 27 Mar. 2021 Lannon is accused of breaking into the home of Michael Dabkowski, 66, and beating him to death with a hammer, according to an affidavit. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "Boulder, Atlanta mass killings were among 7 so far this year. Here are the others you might have missed.," 25 Mar. 2021 Lannon is accused of breaking in and beating the 66-year-old to death with a hammer, according to an affidavit. CBS News, "Man linked to 5 deaths, including ex-wife, allegedly confesses to killing 16," 22 Mar. 2021 Sean Lannon is accused of breaking in and beating the 66-year-old to death with a hammer, according to an affidavit. BostonGlobe.com, "Prosecutor: Man accused of 1 murder says he really killed 16," 20 Mar. 2021 Long, 21, is accused in the deadliest massacre in Georgia since 1999, when day trader Mark Barton murdered his wife and two children with a hammer before shooting nine people dead and injuring 13 others at a pair of stock brokerages in Buckhead. Jeremy Redmon, ajc, "Police: Spa shooting suspect had visited Atlanta locations before," 18 Mar. 2021 The entire arc of the MCU version of Thor changed forever when Taika Waititi was tapped to direct the third standalone movie about the big guy with the hammer. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The 80 Best Movies on Disney+ Right Now," 10 Mar. 2021 Fighting a deadly virus with rigid political ideology is like trying to wave away a thunderstorm with a hammer. Lina Hidalgo, Time, "The End of the Mask Mandate in Texas Doesn't Mean We Should Let Our Guard Down," 8 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb There were always enough bottles of malt vinegar and Cholula to hammer onto the fish and chips. Nick Rallo, Dallas News, "East Dallas favorite 20 Feet Seafood Joint has permanently closed," 19 Mar. 2021 Unlike typical synthetic tests that may hammer a drive to find its theoretical throughput—all under scenarios that may not match what most people do day-to-day— PCMark 10 is built around trace tests. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Intel fires a shot at AMD's storage performance. Here's what to believe," 24 Feb. 2021 Autoplay House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and 12 other House Republicans are at the southern border and will make comments from El Paso, Texas, later Monday as the GOP continues to hammer President Biden over immigration. Tyler Olson, Fox News, "McCarthy, GOP delegation visiting U.S.-Mexico border Monday amid migration surge under Biden," 15 Mar. 2021 The coronavirus pandemic continues to hammer the travel industry after a surge in cases through winter led to new lockdowns and restrictions and the vaccine rollout has faced hurdles globally. Olivia Carville, Fortune, "Airbnb revenue beats estimates, showing demand amid COVID surge," 25 Feb. 2021 As severe weather continues to hammer the Midwest and northeast Tuesday, General Motors halted production at its highly profitable pickup plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, along with three other plants affecting about 4,800 workers. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "GM stops production at highly profitable pickup plant in Fort Wayne, 3 others," 17 Feb. 2021 In Alaska, the pandemic continues to hammer the economy but some Anchorage businesses say controlling the virus is a bigger concern than city regulations. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Lawmaker who called Alaska Airlines ‘mask bullies’ says Gov. Dunleavy’s COVID-19 health orders might violate constitution," 28 Jan. 2021 Trump is expected to hammer Biden’s policy on immigration in a keynote address at CPAC on Sunday, in remarks that will attempt to chart a path for the Republican Party. Katherine Doyle, Washington Examiner, "Biden tries to avoid 'kids in cages' tag amid increased child migrant flow at southern border," 25 Feb. 2021 As progressive Democrats hammer the need to include a $15 minimum wage in the final version of the bill among other discrepancies, Republicans remain critical of the president's first major piece of legislation going through on a party line vote. Rick Klein, ABC News, "Merrick Garland to answer for Biden on key Trump questions: The Note," 22 Feb. 2021

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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Time Traveler for hammer

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for hammer

Last Updated

1 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hammer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hammer. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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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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