Main meanings of hammer in English

: hammer1Hammer2


Pronunciation /ˈhamə/

See synonyms for hammer

Translate hammer into Spanish


  • 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.

    ‘Grip pressure should be firm but not tight - about the way you would grip a hammer's handle while driving 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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).’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Use a hammer and nail set or an electric drill with countersink bit to join the frame pieces.’
    • ‘Much of the work is done manually using basic tools like hammers, shovels, axes and mammoties, a spade-like implement common throughout Sri Lanka.’
    • ‘Then pull out the nails with a hammer or locking pliers.’
    • ‘Use a hammer and nail set to drive them below the surface.’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘They have nail guns, hammers, drills, the whole lot; everything they need to facilitate the destruction.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To do this, he says, you need two basic tools: a hammer and a screwdriver.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    mallet, beetle, gavel
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A 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. 1.2An 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Worrall's book is a warning to anyone lured by the auctioneer's hammer.’
    3. 1.3A 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.
      ‘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.’
      • ‘The SFS adds a mechanical hammer block to prevent the hammer from hitting the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled.’
      • ‘If struck a hard blow, the hammers are designed to shear rather than override the sears.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.

    ‘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.’
    • ‘Aidan Kelly scored top points when finishing in 1st place in the hammer with a throw of 36.24.’
    • ‘He towered above others and could throw the hammer to a distance of around 190 feet.’
    • ‘It is an Olympic sport, like rifle shooting, and throwing the hammer or the discus.’
    1. 2.1the hammerThe 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the under-17 events, James Nagle won gold in the hammer and shot putt contests.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We heard the rhythmic pounding as the spear points were hammered onto shafts of ash wood.’
    • ‘A golden spike was hammered into the ground to symbolize the momentous occasion.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘No one here is hammering a list of demands on a church door.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I'm serious: some guy in my neighbourhood has been hammering the same nail for about eight months now.’
    • ‘That way when you are hammering the post spike you are hitting the wooden post piece, not the metal.’
    • ‘Jesus is flung on the rough timber and iron spikes are hammered through his hands and feet.’
    • ‘After that nails are hammered through the pre-punched holes as the pieces are attached to the wood.’
    • ‘As a boy he was taught to read by feeling upholstery studs hammered into pieces of wood in the shapes of letters and numbers.’
    • ‘Far off to his left, he could hear Em and the Marns boy hammering planks to the tree.’
    • ‘The surgeon then packs cement along the distal femur and hammers the femoral implant into place.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Both men hammered on the rooms along the corridor to rouse other guests.’
      • ‘However, I broke the silence as I hammered on the door to attract attention.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 clapped Bligh's arm, and then turned and hammered on the door.’
      • ‘I hammered on the door of my brother's room and later on the restroom door.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There are, as I write, three or four thousand aroused woodpeckers hammering away at my property.’
      • ‘The equaliser came in the final minute when Lee Buggie latched onto a throughball and hammered a shot past the keeper.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Harlan took the dagger and hammered it down onto the desk so loudly that it made even Camelot jump.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      batter, pummel, beat, bang, pound
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Strike (a ball, puck, etc.) very hard.
      • ‘Maclean was presented with a great chance but he hammered the ball over the bar from 10 yards’
      batter, pummel, beat, bang, pound
      View synonyms
  • 2 informal Attack or criticize forcefully and relentlessly.

    • ‘he got hammered for an honest mistake’
    • ‘This is the first time I've ever had a case where in a shoplifting situation somebody has been hammered this relentlessly.’
    • ‘The author has been hammered by critics into a tiny ball of bloody gunk over the last few months.’
    • ‘They just attacked me, hammered me at the book signing.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The inquiry counsel annoyed the press by attacking their coverage and got hammered himself as a result.’
    • ‘Large goannas are the ones that are likely to be hammered pretty badly by cane toads.’
    • ‘Health professionals are mobilising to condemn the government, propose major structural reforms, and hammer the ineffectual minister.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘No doubt there were hundreds of agitprop dramas in the 1950s hammering Joe McCarthy's red-baiting campaign.’
    • ‘Unfortunately we are hammered by the Government if we don't do anything - and by the public if we do.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The press in America have hammered him for not winning any of the last four, but I would like to have that problem.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He got five years for the fraud that never happened, and the system seemed eager to hammer him.’
    • ‘They might have hammered him for exposing a unit to theft or damage.’
    • ‘In his cross-examinations, he has hammered the witnesses with questions about rebel activity in their villages.’
    • ‘If the Government is increasingly hammering journalists here, there has to be a sea change in the way we respond.’
    criticize, censure, attack, condemn, castigate, chastise, lambast, pillory, reprimand, rebuke, admonish, remonstrate with, take to task, haul over the coals, berate, reproach, reprove
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Utterly defeat in a game or contest.
      ‘they hammered St Mirren 4–0’
      • ‘Although Skolars were hammered by a record score in the last game against Batley, Moorby is still taking the game seriously.’
      • ‘We got a glimpse of what may be possible when we hammered Doncaster in the opening game.’
      • ‘Swinging early and connecting often, the Giants hammered Curt Schilling and Brian Anderson in the first two games.’
      • ‘Last season he hammered Lancashire for three centuries in the championship and league clashes at Old Trafford - and finished up a double loser.’
      • ‘The third team hammered Bradford University 5-1 at home with a hat-trick from M Bell and two goals from J Metcalfe.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘Anybody looking at the final score would think we had been hammered, but that was definitely not the case,’ he said.’
      • ‘In the Keybury League under-sevens Group D, Myrtle Park hammered Gomersal C 11-0.’
      • ‘Canada bowed out in the tournament's first round after getting hammered by Norway and Russia.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We've played against teams that have been worse than that and they've hammered us by more.’
      • ‘The idea that the Welsh should support England at football when they hammer us at rugby is unacceptable.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Pakistan meanwhile hammers the Brits in their first county match at Worcester where Alimuddin scores a century.’
      • ‘The weakened side were hammered 62-2 and they could face another beating this week unless some players choose to return.’
      • ‘We beat them 21-6 and England hammered them 53-3, and it was a real low point for them.’
      • ‘Elsewhere, re-crowned champions Glasgow Hawks rounded off their campaign by hammering bottom dogs Stirling County 47-8’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If it is, then BA's earnings and share price will be hammered.’
    • ‘The share price got hammered because Irish shareholders are net sellers in the long run.’
    • ‘Stock markets got hammered yesterday, as investors fled equities for cash, stunned by the latest WorldCom corporate scandal in the US.’
  • 4Stock Market
    Declare (a person or company) a defaulter.

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


    From the practice of striking three strokes with a mallet on the side of a rostrum in the Stock Exchange before a formal declaration of default.


    hammer and tongs
    • Energetically, enthusiastically, or with great vehemence.

      • ‘the racehorses were going at it hammer and tongs’
      • ‘It went into extra-time, you had two world-class teams going 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They have played with great tempo, and been so positive in going at their opponents 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘How can you go at a ruling hammer and tongs when you have this sort of culture?’
    under the hammer
    • For sale at an auction.

      ‘the book went under the hammer at Sotheby's last Friday’
      • ‘the paintings are expected to fetch more than £25 million when they come under the hammer next month’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It came under the hammer at the auction and was sold for E50.’
      • ‘The most expensive piece of furniture ever to be sold at auction is due to go under the hammer once more on December 9.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The property of Glen Lodge at Culleenamore recently went under the hammer at an auction in Dublin.’
      • ‘Just days ago the Elliott family silver and a collection of prized John Gould bird prints went under the hammer at a Melbourne auction.’

Phrasal Verbs

    hammer away
    • Work hard and persistently.

      • ‘for six months I have been hammering away at a plot’
    hammer into
    • hammer something into someoneCause someone to understand, learn, or accept something by repeating it regularly and forcefully.

      • ‘the importance of these elections has been hammered into voters’
    hammer out
    • 1Laboriously work out the details of a plan or agreement.

      ‘a deal was being hammered out with the Dutch museums’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Further details will be hammered out at working-level talks in the near future.’
      • ‘In each case, it's not the solution they hammer out that matters; it's the process of hammering it out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The ministers will ask the officials to leave the room and hammer it out among themselves.’
      • ‘We finally hammered it out by the end of the summer.’
    • 2Play a tune loudly or clumsily, especially on the piano.


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 meanings of Hammer in English

: hammer1Hammer2


Pronunciation /ˈhamə/

See synonyms for Hammer

Translate Hammer into Spanish

proper noun

  • 1A British film company (full name Hammer Film Productions) 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’