1. A hand tool consisting of a handle with a head of metal or other heavy rigid material that is attached at a right angle, used for striking or pounding.
2. A tool or device similar in function or action to this striking tool, as:
a. The part of a gunlock that hits the primer or firing pin or explodes the percussion cap and causes the gun to fire.
b. Music One of the padded wooden pieces of a piano that strikes the strings.
c. A part of an apparatus that strikes a gong or bell, as in a clock.
3. Anatomy See malleus.
4. Sports A metal ball weighing 16 pounds (7.2 kilograms) and having a long wire or wooden handle by which it is thrown for distance in track-and-field competition.
5. A small mallet used by auctioneers.
v. ham·mered, ham·mer·ing, ham·mers
a. To hit, especially repeatedly, with a hammer; pound. See Synonyms at beat.
b. To strike forcefully and repeatedly: hooves hammering the ground.
c. To assault with military force: hammered the position with artillery shells.
a. To beat into a shape with a hammer or similar tool: hammered the metal into a goblet.
b. To accomplish or produce with difficulty or effort. Often used with out: hammer out an agreement.
3. To put together, fasten, or seal, particularly with nails, by hammering.
4. To force upon (someone) by constant repetition: hammered the information into the students' heads.
a. To cause harm, loss, or difficulty to (someone), especially repeatedly: investors hammered in the bear market.
b. To defeat soundly: got hammered in the playoffs.
c. To attack verbally: a politician hammered in the press
1. To deal repeated blows with or as if with a hammer; pummel: "Wind hammered at us violently in gusts" (Thor Heyerdahl).
2. To undergo beating in the manner of a hammer: My pulse hammered.
3. Informal To keep at something continuously. Often used with away: hammered away at the problem.
under the hammer
For sale at an auction.
[Middle English hamer, from Old English hamor; see ak- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.