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pile driver

a machine for driving piles, usually composed of a tall framework in which either a weight is raised and dropped on a pile head or in which a steam hammer drives the pile.
a person who operates such a machine.
a person who hits or attacks forcefully or powerfully.
Wrestling. a move whereby an opponent is turned upside down and slammed headfirst to the mat.
British Sports. a powerful stroke, hit, kick, etc.
Origin of pile driver
1765-75 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for pile-driver
Historical Examples
  • The jar on the rider would have been like a pile-driver falling on his head had he not let himself grow limp.

    Wyoming, a Story of the Outdoor West William MacLeod Raine
  • It shot out like a pile-driver, all his weight behind the blow.

    Crooked Trails and Straight William MacLeod Raine
  • The glove crashed straight as a pile-driver through Murphy's upraised hands to his face, which it met with a smack.

    The Riverman Stewart Edward White
  • He shortened his right arm for a jab like the crash of a pile-driver.

    The Trail of '98 Robert W. Service
  • If any of them had hit either the tug or the pile-driver squarely, it would have stove and sunk the craft.

    The Riverman Stewart Edward White
  • Then came a time when this funeral business landed on me like a pile-driver.

    Cutting It out Samuel G. Blythe
  • The river borings were all wash-borings made from a pile-driver boat.

  • "It acts more like a pile-driver than a printing-press," said Ned, ruefully.

    Phaeton Rogers Rossiter Johnson
  • I exclaimed, my heart thumping like a pile-driver, as I realized my embarrassing predicament.

    On a Donkey's Hurricane Deck R. Pitcher Woodward
  • It come upon me sudden and strong as a pile-driver, and my boy writ it down.

    Hans Brinker Mary Mapes Dodge
British Dictionary definitions for pile-driver


a machine that drives piles into the ground either by repeatedly allowing a heavy weight to fall on the head of the pile or by using a steam hammer
(informal) a forceful punch or kick
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pile-driver

1772 in literal sense, from pile (n.2) + driver. Figurative sense of "very strong hit" is recorded from 1858.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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