Definition of sledgehammer in US English:

sledgehammer

noun

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

    • ‘Frank Gabriel stands about twenty feet away, holding a large hammer - a sledgehammer, in fact.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The thieves, says the proprietor, must have used a sledgehammer to break the toughened glass to gain access.’
    • ‘But as an athlete, you can get in some habits, and sometimes it takes a sledgehammer to break them.’
    • ‘In the other picture, five black men in undershirts and overalls are driving a massive iron support into the ground with heavy sledgehammers.’
    • ‘The movie pounds out the characters with a sledgehammer and a mallet, and that has to pass for development.’
    • ‘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 scattered towards the barrel as Toby discarded his sledgehammer for the crowbar.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some got out of the van armed with spray-paint cans while others came out carrying metal bats, chainsaws, hatchets and sledgehammers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Graham attempted to jump Toby, but he was prepared and rammed the mallet of the sledgehammer into Graham's stomach.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ahead of him, a group of perhaps forty slaves smashed rocks with sledgehammers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To get to the watches, the thieves had to break half-inch thick glass with a sledgehammer or other heavy implement.’
    • ‘The shuttle began rocking, like someone was pounding at it with a sledgehammer.’
    • ‘Plus a guy gets his shoulder broken with a sledgehammer.’
    • ‘Mijangos used a sledgehammer to break down the door.’
    1. 1.1as modifier Powerful; forceful.
      ‘sledgehammer blows’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In both the Filipino and Malayan cases, police and small military unit operations were the rule, not large sledgehammer operations.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Leonard would fight on his toes and thus avoiding Hagler sledgehammer shots.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We met in a blur of sledgehammer punches and bone crunching blocks.’
      • ‘I assume he is doing this by using sledgehammer riffs and singing which is just sub par for Neaderthal communication.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Critics raved about the power and sledgehammer punch of the book.’
      • ‘Jobs have been lost all over the US - but Ohio has been hit by a series of 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Was that feeling not worth this disabling sledgehammer blow of sorrow?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And the sign-off at the end of his first letter is a laugh-line with a sledgehammer punch.’
      • ‘Marciano was a raw talent with sledgehammer punches.’
      • ‘A number of aspects can signify physical violence, but nothing matches the capability of this combination for sledgehammer brutality.’
      • ‘Of the ten times Frazier's been down, eight are by the sledgehammer fist of Big George.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2as modifier Ruthless, insensitive, or using unnecessary force.
      ‘under his sledgehammer direction, anything of subtlety is swamped’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Our current citizenship laws are problematical but why go the sledgehammer route which will just whip up racism?’
      • ‘Yet a whole lot of people arm themselves with sledgehammer tackle when they are gunning for modest-size fish.’
      • ‘No one tunes a piano with a hammer, but I sometimes see racers take a sledgehammer approach to tuning engines.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Somewhere along the way, I learned that the sledgehammer approach wasn't going to work.’
      • ‘Never go for the subtle quip when the goofy sledgehammer punchline will do.’
      • ‘They do it with theoretical lucidity and no sledgehammer politics.’
      • ‘The scenes are acted with sledgehammer humour, unworthy of Williamson's usually sleek style.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Use a sledgehammer style of attack and you're definitely going to have a hard time with the ‘avoid enemy detection’ objective.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This hideous pork product does nothing but evoke traumatic memories of the film's headache-inducing brand of sledgehammer slapstick.’
      • ‘Barnes could easily have made this novel into a sledgehammer indictment of racism, but what he does is far more subtle.’
      • ‘Emerson, whose obsessive, sledgehammer approach makes his reporting often seem an afterthought to his conclusion, possesses neither.’

verb

[with object]
  • Hit with a sledgehammer.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The stakes are sledgehammered into the ground about 10 to 12 inches and two 3-inch sheetrock screws are used to secure each stake.’
    • ‘Hence, I spent a good morning on Sunday sledgehammering the concrete fenceposts out of the front garden.’

Pronunciation

sledgehammer

/ˈslejˌhamər//ˈslɛdʒˌhæmər/