Main definitions of hammer in English

: hammer1Hammer2



  • 1A tool with a heavy metal head mounted at right angles at the end of a handle, used for jobs such as breaking things and driving in nails.

    • ‘Most of the project requires basic wood-working tools - a circular saw, a saber saw, an electric drill, a hammer, and a nail set.’
    • ‘In addition to Mike's skill and knowledge on the golf course, he's pretty handy with a hammer and nails and has quite a selection of tools in the garage.’
    • ‘To do this, he says, you need two basic tools: a hammer and a screwdriver.’
    • ‘It wasn't until early last fall that I actually pulled it out of the plastic tub that houses my hammer, nails, and other unused tools.’
    • ‘They have nail guns, hammers, drills, the whole lot; everything they need to facilitate the destruction.’
    • ‘Much of the work is done manually using basic tools like hammers, shovels, axes and mammoties, a spade-like implement common throughout Sri Lanka.’
    • ‘They would also have used tools such as planes, axes, adzes, draw knives, wedges, knives, chisels, hammers, mallets, awls, gouges, and spoon augers (a type of drill).’
    • ‘Grip pressure should be firm but not tight - about the way you would grip a hammer's handle while driving nails.’
    • ‘Use a hammer and nail set to drive them below the surface.’
    • ‘Use a hammer and nail set or an electric drill with countersink bit to join the frame pieces.’
    • ‘Although the small shop houses a grinder-buffer, drill, bench sander and electric saw, most of the tools are primitive looking hammers, mallets and anvils.’
    • ‘He began the process of clipping various tools to his brother's belt - nail gun, replacement clips, throwing chisels, hammers, saw blades, sander, drill bits.’
    • ‘I also need a hammer and nails, picture hooks and the step ladder.’
    • ‘Then pull out the nails with a hammer or locking pliers.’
    • ‘That wood was probably going to go to some company and be used to make door stops or handles for axes or hammers or something like that.’
    • ‘Use a ball-peen hammer or a block of wood and a nail hammer to knock the tool head out of the ferule on the handle.’
    • ‘Before you hit your sales reps with a lot of questions or break out the hammer and nails to begin building displays, do an assessment of your shop.’
    • ‘If all you have in your home is a broken screwdriver, a hammer without a handle, and one wrench you hope will happen to fit whatever bolt you encounter, you need some help.’
    • ‘To drill through the tile you will need a hammer, a nail set, an electric drill and a masonry bit a little larger than the diameter of the screws you use.’
    • ‘I moved on to the engine room and took a good look around the engine and workshop area, which still held tools, spanners and hammers!’
    mallet, beetle, gavel
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A machine with a metal block for giving a heavy blow to something.
      • ‘A hydraulic hammer is basically a hydraulically powered reciprocating piston inside of a body.’
      • ‘Shaw points out that hydraulic hammers and pulverizer attachments have allowed them to pick up demolition work on bridges and commercial and industrial buildings.’
      • ‘Hydraulic hammers and breakers, attached to big excavators or scudding skid-steers, announce demolition.’
    2. 1.2 An auctioneer's gavel, tapped to indicate a sale.
      • ‘City fans will be given a chance to get hold of their own piece of football history when items from Maine Road go under the auctioneer's hammers.’
      • ‘Worrall's book is a warning to anyone lured by the auctioneer's hammer.’
      • ‘A auctioneer lowers his hammer as a painting believed to be a work by Vincent Van Gogh is sold for US $550,000 in Tokyo yesterday.’
      • ‘Before I knew it my arm flew up, the auctioneer banged the hammer down and she was mine!’
      • ‘This slim fast-talking man is a whiz with an auction hammer.’
    3. 1.3 A part of a mechanism that hits another part to make it work, such as one exploding the charge in a gun or one striking the strings of a piano.
      • ‘The SFS adds a mechanical hammer block to prevent the hammer from hitting the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled.’
      • ‘On the other hand, Debussy seems at times to call for a delicacy beyond the capability of fingers or for a piano which has no hammers at all.’
      • ‘Frames and slides are made to his specifications by a vendor, as are screws and springs, but Brown machines sears, hammers, safeties and most of the other small parts.’
      • ‘If struck a hard blow, the hammers are designed to shear rather than override the sears.’
      • ‘The safety also blocks the hammer from contact with the firing pin.’
  • 2A metal ball of about 7 kg attached to a wire for throwing in an athletic contest.

    • ‘It is an Olympic sport, like rifle shooting, and throwing the hammer or the discus.’
    • ‘And what about if the hockey was taking place on the same field that they were throwing the hammer and javelin.’
    • ‘For Skyrac AC Nicola Jackson threw the hammer 39.22m for sixth place.’
    • ‘He towered above others and could throw the hammer to a distance of around 190 feet.’
    • ‘Aidan Kelly scored top points when finishing in 1st place in the hammer with a throw of 36.24.’
    1. 2.1the hammer The sport of throwing a hammer.
      • ‘There is also a track surface to provide a run-up for the javelin meaning the only disciplines the facility cannot currently play host to is the hammer and pole vault.’
      • ‘Olympic hammer champion Szymon Ziolkowski of Poland set a new world championship record to win gold ahead of Asian record holder Koji Murofushi.’
      • ‘The City of Glasgow athlete has thrown 55.10m in the hammer this season - well over the qualification mark for the World Juniors.’
      • ‘In the under-17 events, James Nagle won gold in the hammer and shot putt contests.’
      • ‘We are very strong here in Sligo on the track, but quite weak in some field events such as pole vault, high jump and hammer.’
  • 3

    another term for malleus
    • ‘The findings are drawn from examination of the hammer, anvil and stirrup bones in the ears of Homo heidelbergensis fossils, also known as Boxgrove Man.’
    • ‘The drum vibrates with the sound and rattles three small bones: the hammer, anvil and stirrup.’
    • ‘There they became the anvil and the hammer, minute bones that transmit sound from the eardrum to the stirrup bone and, ultimately, to the inner ear.’


[with object]
  • 1Hit or beat (something) repeatedly with a hammer or similar object.

    ‘he hammered the tack in’
    • ‘No one here is hammering a list of demands on a church door.’
    • ‘A haze of fragrant wood-smoke rose from his furnace; workers sawed and hammered metal, others worked meticulously on figurines which had been rough cast.’
    • ‘It's difficult to have a chilled and relaxed weekend when it's accompanied by the sound of Dominic hammering floorboards, Dominic hammering walls, Dominic hammering doors and window frames.’
    • ‘The men were hammering wooden boards with cartoon - like ferocity.’
    • ‘As a boy he was taught to read by feeling upholstery studs hammered into pieces of wood in the shapes of letters and numbers.’
    • ‘After that nails are hammered through the pre-punched holes as the pieces are attached to the wood.’
    • ‘The melted Stones were beat and hammered into weapons called the Behemoths.’
    • ‘The best type of helm was hammered and raised out of a single piece of iron and was therefore stronger than a riveted one.’
    • ‘The surgeon then packs cement along the distal femur and hammers the femoral implant into place.’
    • ‘Joe and Serena are talking about their new loves when Paul hammers the door down demanding to know why she graffitied his wall.’
    • ‘Jesus is flung on the rough timber and iron spikes are hammered through his hands and feet.’
    • ‘I hammered it to death repeatedly with the book for several minutes.’
    • ‘With the birds already in the construction I couldn't start hammering a new thing onto it, nor could they really be moved for fear of traumatising the newborn ducklings.’
    • ‘That way when you are hammering the post spike you are hitting the wooden post piece, not the metal.’
    • ‘‘In old times they started making gold leaf by hammering gold between pieces of leather,’ Tsaneva explains.’
    • ‘A golden spike was hammered into the ground to symbolize the momentous occasion.’
    • ‘Far off to his left, he could hear Em and the Marns boy hammering planks to the tree.’
    • ‘Toe plates are then cut from sheet metal, and pieces of iron are hammered and twisted into shape to form soles and heels.’
    • ‘The kids, from knee-high to tall as any grown up, sanded the round bone discs, and hammered a design onto a metal plate that Yip riveted to the face of the disc.’
    • ‘Of course that first thing that sprang to mind was lockjaw, but I've not been hammering any rusty nails recently, so it's unlikely.’
    • ‘He has three men at work on the deck, and with a chisel, they are hammering little bits of cotton waste into the tiny spaces between the beams that form the deck.’
    • ‘I'm serious: some guy in my neighbourhood has been hammering the same nail for about eight months now.’
    • ‘We heard the rhythmic pounding as the spear points were hammered onto shafts of ash wood.’
    beat, forge, shape, form, mould, fashion, make
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1no object Strike or knock at or on something violently with one's hand or with a hammer or other object.
      ‘she hammered on his door’
      with object ‘he hammered the ball wildly over the crossbar’
      • ‘I've been sawing and hammering away at that wood we rescued from behind the mall, and made a couple of lovely rough crates for my home-made goodies to go into.’
      • ‘Harlan took the dagger and hammered it down onto the desk so loudly that it made even Camelot jump.’
      • ‘Both Mr Noble and Mr Roper then hammered on the room doors along the corridor to rouse other guests before dashing upstairs to wake people on the top floor.’
      • ‘There are, as I write, three or four thousand aroused woodpeckers hammering away at my property.’
      • ‘Both men hammered on the rooms along the corridor to rouse other guests.’
      • ‘However Waterford were soon back on the attack and Fitzgerald went close once more as he hammered a right foot shot off the crossbar with Devlin beaten.’
      • ‘This is as far as we go because rock breakers are still hammering away here, slowly pulverising the rock to clear trenches for drains.’
      • ‘The girlfriend, Peggy, knocks on the door of the room where Lemmon is furiously hammering away on his typewriter.’
      • ‘The equaliser came in the final minute when Lee Buggie latched onto a throughball and hammered a shot past the keeper.’
      • ‘I hammered on the door of my brother's room and later on the restroom door.’
      • ‘He clapped Bligh's arm, and then turned and hammered on the door.’
      • ‘Yappyfox, the red fox who so proudly hammered on his cymbal for the previous nine hours, takes the stage and begins a classic instrumental song.’
      • ‘He hammered on the shield again, tears of rage and frustration flowing freely down his cheeks.’
      • ‘He hammers away at the keys, periodically ripping the paper out of the machine, thrusting it into the hands of whichever cabinet minister has drawn the short straw, and gasping, ‘here, give them this.’’
      • ‘People hammered on train doors and screamed to get out, while crowds in the station ran in all directions, protecting their heads, to get away from the chaos.’
      • ‘However, I broke the silence as I hammered on the door to attract attention.’
      • ‘On a coffee table in their sitting room stood two cups of cold coffee and the remains of two cream cakes - all that was left of the snack they abandoned last night when a neighbour hammered on their door and told them they had to get out.’
      • ‘Indeed, Kilbride might have rubbed salt in with big Jim Fitz hammering a shot off the crossbar in the closing moments before the nimble Nolan brought the scoring to an end with his fifth point from a free.’
      • ‘Stephen then hammered on the door of a house to get help and an elderly man let him in and comforted him for half-an-hour before he walked for five minutes up the road to his home.’
      • ‘Played in ideal conditions the Charlestown lads settled quickly and took the lead through David Caffrey who beat three players before hammering the ball to the net.’
      batter, pummel, beat, bang, pound
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2hammer awayno object Work hard and persistently.
      ‘they must hammer away at these twin themes day after day’
      • ‘While the company continues to hammer away at the upscale appliance market in the United States, it has opened its once-proprietary control protocol to other companies.’
      • ‘And we'll take you live to the Scott Peterson murder trial where prosecutors are hammering away on his character.’
      • ‘Sean Barker, Andrew Fester and Bob Hardy kept hammering away at the home defence and Mark Allen capitalised with a try in the corner to cap a fine display.’
      • ‘SGI continues to be happy hammering away on the high end graphics and scientific computing markets.’
      • ‘Yeah, but you don't see the media hammering away at that issue.’
      • ‘Depends on the effectiveness of the Democrats at hammering away at that issue.’
      • ‘While the above has been one stream of outpouring in the country's press, the other has been to hammer away at what many columnists saw as a confession-and-pardon charade.’
      • ‘And they kept hammering away right up until the elections that ETA was a prime suspect.’
      • ‘You're going to see the prosecution hammering away at the Modesto Police Department throughout this entire process.’
      • ‘After hammering away through ruck after ruck, an Eric Miller surge caught the English offside and Humphreys kicked the precious points.’
      • ‘During this time period, the opposition party usually has a group of potential presidential candidates hammering away at the incumbent.’
      • ‘The flashpoint of debate and controversy is the status of women, and Makhmalbaf's films, along with those of his wife and daughter, continue to hammer away at this theme.’
      • ‘They amassed a further 47 points without reply and were still hammering away at what remained of the shreds of Italy's defence even as the clock ticked into injury time.’
      • ‘Rais has been hammering away at the judiciary issue.’
      • ‘We keep hammering away at these shortfalls in our system.’
      • ‘SGI continues to hammer away on the graphics and high performance computing markets that brought it fame.’
      • ‘Still, current events are relentlessly hammering away at the idea that ethnicity can and should be the foundation of nationality.’
      • ‘She hammers away at her themes, supposedly ironizing irony.’
      • ‘I continue to hammer away at the importance of public broadcasting, and the importance of saving our book publishing industry.’
      work hard, labour, slog away, plod away, grind away, slave away, work like a trojan, work like a dog, keep one's nose to the grindstone
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    3. 1.3hammer something in/into Inculcate something forcefully or repeatedly.
      ‘a commercial image that was hammered into English consciousness’
      • ‘If Democrats don't soon begin to strongly support serious movement to renewable energy sources - including hammering the idea in the corporate media - then Republicans may do just that.’
      • ‘Indeed, the point was hammered in by a voice-overed narrator contributing fatuous observations like ‘The huge gulf between rich and poor highlights how lucky we are in New Zealand!’’
      • ‘The deal is simple, and he hammers it in more specifically: ‘Do not play with our security, and spontaneously you will secure yourself.’’
      drum, instil, inculcate, knock, drive, din
      View synonyms
  • 2informal Attack or criticize forcefully and relentlessly.

    ‘he got hammered for an honest mistake’
    • ‘Unfortunately we are hammered by the Government if we don't do anything - and by the public if we do.’
    • ‘The author has been hammered by critics into a tiny ball of bloody gunk over the last few months.’
    • ‘Large goannas are the ones that are likely to be hammered pretty badly by cane toads.’
    • ‘The press in America have hammered him for not winning any of the last four, but I would like to have that problem.’
    • ‘He got five years for the fraud that never happened, and the system seemed eager to hammer him.’
    • ‘Some of the critics in the county who had hammered Corkery for more than a decade were lining up Masters as their next legitimate target.’
    • ‘He has been hammered in the newspapers and by the critics.’
    • ‘He is getting hammered for allowing these words to be in the State of the Union address.’
    • ‘Health professionals are mobilising to condemn the government, propose major structural reforms, and hammer the ineffectual minister.’
    • ‘If the Government is increasingly hammering journalists here, there has to be a sea change in the way we respond.’
    • ‘It seemed harsh to hammer him for following what must have been an agreed policy and harsher still when he was forced to play on the retreat all afternoon.’
    • ‘The inquiry counsel annoyed the press by attacking their coverage and got hammered himself as a result.’
    • ‘They might have hammered him for exposing a unit to theft or damage.’
    • ‘No doubt there were hundreds of agitprop dramas in the 1950s hammering Joe McCarthy's red-baiting campaign.’
    • ‘It hammers the company for not detailing the assumed rates of return at other telecom companies.’
    • ‘It looks like the Republicans are planning on hammering him on that one.’
    • ‘This is the first time I've ever had a case where in a shoplifting situation somebody has been hammered this relentlessly.’
    • ‘It would probably do the culture secretary the world of good to go, even if she is hammered for the new three-year deal for arts funding from the government, announced last month.’
    • ‘In his cross-examinations, he has hammered the witnesses with questions about rebel activity in their villages.’
    • ‘They just attacked me, hammered me at the book signing.’
    criticize, censure, attack, condemn, castigate, chastise, lambaste, pillory, reprimand, rebuke, admonish, remonstrate with, take to task, haul over the coals, berate, reproach, reprove
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Utterly defeat in a game or contest.
      ‘they hammered St Mirren 4–0’
      • ‘Elsewhere, re-crowned champions Glasgow Hawks rounded off their campaign by hammering bottom dogs Stirling County 47-8’
      • ‘We beat them 21-6 and England hammered them 53-3, and it was a real low point for them.’
      • ‘Swinging early and connecting often, the Giants hammered Curt Schilling and Brian Anderson in the first two games.’
      • ‘Yorkshire gave Steve Kirby the new ball on his return from a back injury but Fraser Watts hammered him for four boundaries and he was withdrawn from the attack but returned later to claim the last two wickets to fall.’
      • ‘After a week off Town's A team got back to action with a bang hammering Harlow with ten goals and did their goal difference a power of good.’
      • ‘Canada bowed out in the tournament's first round after getting hammered by Norway and Russia.’
      • ‘The Fife side hammered their opponents 4-1 at Central Park while the Hampden side slipped up again with a goalless draw against Brechin City at Glebe Park.’
      • ‘In the Keybury League under-sevens Group D, Myrtle Park hammered Gomersal C 11-0.’
      • ‘The third team hammered Bradford University 5-1 at home with a hat-trick from M Bell and two goals from J Metcalfe.’
      • ‘‘Anybody looking at the final score would think we had been hammered, but that was definitely not the case,’ he said.’
      • ‘We got a glimpse of what may be possible when we hammered Doncaster in the opening game.’
      • ‘Britannia Farnworth produced a special show for the television when they hammered Prince Rupert 9-1 in the first round of the Division One Cup.’
      • ‘Last season he hammered Lancashire for three centuries in the championship and league clashes at Old Trafford - and finished up a double loser.’
      • ‘The lack of preparation caught up with him in the UK Championship last month, when he was hammered 9-2 by Stephen Lee in the quarter-finals.’
      • ‘The idea that the Welsh should support England at football when they hammer us at rugby is unacceptable.’
      • ‘Although Skolars were hammered by a record score in the last game against Batley, Moorby is still taking the game seriously.’
      • ‘Pakistan meanwhile hammers the Brits in their first county match at Worcester where Alimuddin scores a century.’
      • ‘We've played against teams that have been worse than that and they've hammered us by more.’
      • ‘The weakened side were hammered 62-2 and they could face another beating this week unless some players choose to return.’
      • ‘In previous years you might have a slip-up and get badly beaten by Kilkenny - well, everybody thought they were going to hammer us anyway.’
      trounce, defeat, beat, beat hollow, worst, best, overwhelm, rout, annihilate, bring someone to their knees
      View synonyms
  • 3Stock Market
    informal Beat down the price of (a stock)

    ‘sceptical investors hammered the computer company's stock’
    • ‘Stock markets got hammered yesterday, as investors fled equities for cash, stunned by the latest WorldCom corporate scandal in the US.’
    • ‘If it is, then BA's earnings and share price will be hammered.’
    • ‘The big reason investors aren't hammering buyers' stocks: Most acquirers have become cautious about not overpaying.’
    • ‘Its stock has been hammered because it's struggling with recent acquisitions, but Moore believes those are short-term problems.’
    • ‘The share price got hammered because Irish shareholders are net sellers in the long run.’
  • 4Stock Market
    Declare (a person or company) a defaulter.

    ‘Willis was hammered in the recession’
    • ‘Such a member is said to be "hammered," and his name is struck off the list.’
    • ‘Meanwhile Woolner and Sumner-Jones were declared in default and ‘hammered’ on the Stock Exchange, meaning they could no longer trade.’


  • come (or go) under the hammer

    • Be sold at an auction.

      • ‘A total of 12 medals belonging to Maj-Gen Drake went under the hammer at London auction house, Spink's, with the set estimated to be worth £20,000 without the elite VC honour.’
      • ‘Around half a dozen bidders tried to snap up the Gooseholme public toilet on the banks of the River Kent when it went under the hammer at a property auction at Manchester Airport.’
      • ‘Mr Lang said Wednesday's auction was a very spirited event as the entire contents of the motel - 650 items - went under the hammer and were all sold.’
      • ‘Yesterday it went under the hammer at prestigious auction house Bonhams in Knightsbridge, London, fetching £300.’
      • ‘The most expensive piece of furniture ever to be sold at auction is due to go under the hammer once more on December 9.’
      • ‘The property of Glen Lodge at Culleenamore recently went under the hammer at an auction in Dublin.’
      • ‘A photograph of Edward VIII taken during his notorious meeting with Adolf Hitler failed to sell at auction yesterday when it went under the hammer as part of a collection of private papers which belonged to his aide.’
      • ‘It came under the hammer at the auction and was sold for E50.’
      • ‘Just days ago the Elliott family silver and a collection of prized John Gould bird prints went under the hammer at a Melbourne auction.’
      • ‘Two previously unheard recordings by John Lennon were sold for €216,000 yesterday when they went under the hammer at an auction of pop memorabilia.’
  • hammer and tongs

    • informal Energetically, enthusiastically, or with great vehemence.

      ‘racehorses going at it hammer and tongs’
      • ‘How can you go at a ruling hammer and tongs when you have this sort of culture?’
      • ‘Poor old Gordon has to sleep on the other side of the house, while Cherie's going at it hammer and tongs, screaming like a banshee.’
      • ‘Several commenters down below have gone at it hammer and tongs and have gotten periodically diverted into arguing that the nuclear attacks on civilian populations in Japan were just.’
      • ‘It went into extra-time, you had two world-class teams going at it hammer and tongs.’
      • ‘On the pitch two gallant teams went at it hammer and tongs while off it, their passionate supporters kept up an incessant cacophony, which will not, I'll warrant, be equalled at the county final.’
      • ‘They have played with great tempo, and been so positive in going at their opponents hammer and tongs.’
      • ‘Give them a different way to go about discussing ideas and the issues that face the world, and they go at it hammer and tongs.’
      • ‘We expected Clare to come at us hammer and tongs, but it wasn't until we began to create space for ourselves up front in the closing quarter that the tide turned in our favour.’
      • ‘On Thursday, she went hammer and tongs at the Government when condemning the arrest of women employees in connection with the ongoing State-wide strike by service organisations.’
      • ‘They were eating steak pie suppers and arguing hammer and tongs when suddenly she got out.’
      strenuously, with great vigour, strongly, powerfully, potently, forcefully, with force, forcibly, energetically, aggressively, heartily, eagerly, with eagerness, enthusiastically, with enthusiasm, with great effort, with all one's might, with might and main, with a will, for dear life, for all one is worth, to the best of one's abilities, as best one can, all out, with a vengeance, fiercely, intensely, hard, as hard as possible, as hard as one can, with all the stops out, like the devil, like the deuce, at full tilt
      View synonyms

Phrasal Verbs

  • hammer something out

    • 1Laboriously work out the details of a plan or agreement.

      • ‘Each one thinking that the other is going to get some minor advantage by pulling some trick, and it just makes it hard to hammer this stuff out.’
      • ‘The ministers will ask the officials to leave the room and hammer it out among themselves.’
      • ‘Further details will be hammered out at working-level talks in the near future.’
      • ‘Now, sources say that votes could come as early as next Wednesday in the House and Thursday in the Senate, when all the details are hammered out.’
      • ‘As a writer or producer, you find yourself trapped in the middle and at first, you want to tell them, ‘Hey… you guys hammer it out and let me know what the decision is.’’
      • ‘Scrap the Debate Commission and let the campaigns hammer it out between themselves each election.’
      • ‘In the end, there was too much opposition from business and development interests, so the CIR was put on hold while the superstore plan was hammered out.’
      • ‘In each case, it's not the solution they hammer out that matters; it's the process of hammering it out.’
      • ‘But the conditions are that the guerrillas call a ceasefire and cessation of hostilities - a non-starter as the rebels have always said a ceasefire could only be called after the details of a peace agreement had been hammered out.’
      • ‘We finally hammered it out by the end of the summer.’
      thrash out, work out, agree on, sort out, decide on, bring about, effect, produce, broker, negotiate, reach an agreement on, come to terms about, come to a decision on, come to a satisfactory conclusion on, form a resolution about
      View synonyms
    • 2Play something on a piano loudly and unskilfully.


Old English hamor, hamer, of Germanic origin: related to Dutch hamer, German Hammer, and Old Norse hamarr ‘rock’. The original sense was probably ‘stone tool’.




Main definitions of hammer in English

: hammer1Hammer2


(also Hammer Film Productions)

proper noun

  • 1A British film company founded in 1948, known especially for its horror films.

    1. 1.1usually as modifier A film produced by Hammer Film Productions.
      ‘a Hammer horror movie’