Definition of sledgehammer in English:



  • 1A large, heavy hammer used for such jobs as breaking rocks and driving in fence posts.

    • ‘Graham scattered towards the barrel as Toby discarded his sledgehammer for the crowbar.’
    • ‘Sheriff's officials have testified they used a sledgehammer to break into Mr Miller's office in Beverly Hills and seized videotapes and files related to the case.’
    • ‘Expected to end quickly, the heavyweight clash had the crowd on the edge of their feet as the two giants hammered each other with vicious sledgehammers for 10 rounds.’
    • ‘Plus a guy gets his shoulder broken with a sledgehammer.’
    • ‘In the other picture, five black men in undershirts and overalls are driving a massive iron support into the ground with heavy sledgehammers.’
    • ‘Some got out of the van armed with spray-paint cans while others came out carrying metal bats, chainsaws, hatchets and sledgehammers.’
    • ‘Mijangos used a sledgehammer to break down the door.’
    • ‘The movie pounds out the characters with a sledgehammer and a mallet, and that has to pass for development.’
    • ‘But as an athlete, you can get in some habits, and sometimes it takes a sledgehammer to break them.’
    • ‘The analogy that I like to use is that it is like taking a sledgehammer to a large boulder and breaking it up so the pebbles can be washed away.’
    • ‘Ahead of him, a group of perhaps forty slaves smashed rocks with sledgehammers.’
    • ‘The 47-year-old teacher and her five kids were snoozing when eight armed crooks used sledgehammers to break through her wall, unnecessarily because she would have let them in the door.’
    • ‘Selby firefighter Paul Bennett said they used a sledgehammer to break down the garage door and reach the fire, which had broken out in a utility room.’
    • ‘Graham attempted to jump Toby, but he was prepared and rammed the mallet of the sledgehammer into Graham's stomach.’
    • ‘We succeeded in moving some rocks, breaking up several large ones with sledgehammers before we broke the handles on Dave and Stan's largest hammers.’
    • ‘Throughout his career, he wrote with clarity and an attention to detail, all the while showing the written word could be more effective as a pen knife than a sledgehammer.’
    • ‘The thieves, says the proprietor, must have used a sledgehammer to break the toughened glass to gain access.’
    • ‘The shuttle began rocking, like someone was pounding at it with a sledgehammer.’
    • ‘To get to the watches, the thieves had to break half-inch thick glass with a sledgehammer or other heavy implement.’
    • ‘Frank Gabriel stands about twenty feet away, holding a large hammer - a sledgehammer, in fact.’
    1. 1.1[as modifier]Powerful; forceful.
      ‘sledgehammer blows’
      • ‘Was that feeling not worth this disabling sledgehammer blow of sorrow?’
      • ‘Jobs have been lost all over the US - but Ohio has been hit by a series of sledgehammer blows.’
      • ‘Of all the guys who have switched uniforms this season, maybe the hardest to get used to will be Lynch, who personified the Bucs' defense with his sledgehammer style.’
      • ‘We met in a blur of sledgehammer punches and bone crunching blocks.’
      • ‘How far all these people will go to achieve their goals is questioned over and over, making for an internal sense of suspense that enhances the propane attacks and sledgehammer fisticuffs.’
      • ‘A number of aspects can signify physical violence, but nothing matches the capability of this combination for sledgehammer brutality.’
      • ‘Critics raved about the power and sledgehammer punch of the book.’
      • ‘In both the Filipino and Malayan cases, police and small military unit operations were the rule, not large sledgehammer operations.’
      • ‘I assume he is doing this by using sledgehammer riffs and singing which is just sub par for Neaderthal communication.’
      • ‘Of the ten times Frazier's been down, eight are by the sledgehammer fist of Big George.’
      • ‘Leonard would fight on his toes and thus avoiding Hagler sledgehammer shots.’
      • ‘These works leave few expressive facets of the instrument unexplored, and they require a technique that can reproduce everything from a baby's caress to passages of sledgehammer ferocity.’
      • ‘The band is amped, and even the ballads quake with fat bass lines, piano chords issued with sledgehammer bravado and the vocals hustled to the front of the mix.’
      • ‘Steel whined, then glanced from the shoulder of his scale mail with a sledgehammer impact, but his enemy had forgotten how tall his opponent was.’
      • ‘Live it would often bring the set to an orgasmic Rock ‘n’ Roll climax, which it does here on the album with all the guitars and drums in the band driving the rhythms into your head with sledgehammer force.’
      • ‘It is beyond sad, or depressing - it is a vicious slap across the mouth, a painful screaming, a well-placed sledgehammer blow to the abdomen.’
      • ‘Marciano was a raw talent with sledgehammer punches.’
      • ‘And the sign-off at the end of his first letter is a laugh-line with a sledgehammer punch.’
      • ‘Though the famous corkscrew left crashed to its mark on Darcy's chin with all its old-time power, the psychological effect of its impotency was almost as unnerving as were Darcy's own sledgehammer blows.’
      • ‘The whole set-up, the diabetes, and the sledgehammer violence were all played in a way that's atypical of what I expect in a mainstream film, feeling much more like a fringe flick in the greasy intensity of it all.’
    2. 1.2[as modifier]Ruthless, insensitive, or using unnecessary force.
      ‘under his sledgehammer direction, anything of subtlety is swamped’
      • ‘This is a sledgehammer approach to hitting a pesky mosquito - don't get me wrong, the mosquito is carrying malaria, but this is not the way to fight it.’
      • ‘Emerson, whose obsessive, sledgehammer approach makes his reporting often seem an afterthought to his conclusion, possesses neither.’
      • ‘His argument isn't funny, though - it's a sledgehammer use of manipulative language to bluff Australians into believing they can't decide against war.’
      • ‘They do it with theoretical lucidity and no sledgehammer politics.’
      • ‘Somewhere along the way, I learned that the sledgehammer approach wasn't going to work.’
      • ‘The scenes are acted with sledgehammer humour, unworthy of Williamson's usually sleek style.’
      • ‘Never go for the subtle quip when the goofy sledgehammer punchline will do.’
      • ‘Symbolism is present but it doesn't suffer from the sledgehammer subtlety disease with which Hollywood is stricken, rather it serves more as icing on the cake.’
      • ‘No one tunes a piano with a hammer, but I sometimes see racers take a sledgehammer approach to tuning engines.’
      • ‘Our current citizenship laws are problematical but why go the sledgehammer route which will just whip up racism?’
      • ‘Barnes could easily have made this novel into a sledgehammer indictment of racism, but what he does is far more subtle.’
      • ‘This hideous pork product does nothing but evoke traumatic memories of the film's headache-inducing brand of sledgehammer slapstick.’
      • ‘Excuse the sledgehammer entry here but I have just listened to the recording of Oppenheimer describing the effect of the first atomic bomb test on those that witnessed it.’
      • ‘Yet a whole lot of people arm themselves with sledgehammer tackle when they are gunning for modest-size fish.’
      • ‘Use a sledgehammer style of attack and you're definitely going to have a hard time with the ‘avoid enemy detection’ objective.’
      • ‘I believe that this type of sledgehammer approach to address populist fears about terrorism is totally disgusting and bordering on totalitarian.’
      • ‘Yet Robbins's mix of pile-driver satire and sledgehammer sentiment crushes this enthusiasm by making one thing appallingly clear: just because you are on the side of the angels, it doesn't mean you are any good.’
      • ‘They had a minimum of significant characters (often zero) and one big sledgehammer theme.’
      • ‘The minimal, magisterial formal aesthetic of the latter though is clearly of another realm to Requiem's crude, lazy, sledgehammer style, and is infinitely more riveting and rewarding.’
      • ‘This has given him more freedom to come and go as he pleases, and not worry about where he's going and who he's seeing, without having the possibility of a sledgehammer response coming from the homeland.’


  • Hit with a sledgehammer.

    ‘the jailhouse door was sledgehammered’
    figurative ‘he sledgehammers obduracy with scholarship and invective’
    • ‘Singing volunteers, and construction workers who said they receive about US $1 a day, now sledgehammer rocks and repair roofs at various monasteries and other old buildings.’
    • ‘They had sledgehammered the door and it caved in.’
    • ‘Hence, I spent a good morning on Sunday sledgehammering the concrete fenceposts out of the front garden.’
    • ‘This mood continued in the gallery's back room, where one found the aftermath of a performance during which Parrino sledgehammered 13 pieces of Sheetrock that had been painted with black enamel.’
    • ‘The stakes are sledgehammered into the ground about 10 to 12 inches and two 3-inch sheetrock screws are used to secure each stake.’