American English

Definition of hammer noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] a tool with a handle and a heavy metal head, used for breaking things or hitting nails (figurative) The decision is a hammer blow for the steel industry. a gentle tap with a hammer He struck her on the head with a hammer. see also sledgehammer
  2. 2[countable] a tool with a handle and a wooden head, used by a person in charge of an auction (=a sale at which things are sold to the person who offers the most money) to get people's attention when something is just being sold to come/go under the hammer (= to be sold at auction ) Forty modern Russian paintings went under the hammer at Christie's today.
  3. in piano
  4. 3[countable] a small wooden part inside a piano, that hits the strings to produce a sound
  5. in gun
  6. 4[countable] a part inside a gun that makes the gun fire
  7. sports
  8. 5[countable] a metal ball attached to a wire, thrown as a sport
  9. 6the hammer [singular] the event or sport of throwing the hammer
  10. Idioms
    hammer and tongs
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    if two people are at it hammer and tongs or go at it hammer and tongs, they argue or fight with a lot of energy and noise We could hear the neighbors going at it hammer and tongs.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: hammer