Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

2017 Word of the Year

sledgehammer

[slej-ham-er] /ˈslɛdʒˌhæm ər/
noun
1.
a large heavy hammer wielded with both hands.
verb (used with or without object)
2.
to hammer, beat, or strike with or as if with a sledgehammer.
adjective
3.
crudely or ruthlessly forceful; lacking all dexterity or grace:
the artist's sledgehammer approach.
Origin of sledgehammer
1485-1495
First recorded in 1485-95; sledge2 + hammer
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for sledgehammer
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The word fell like a sledgehammer blow in the stillness of the room.

    The Odyssey of Sam Meecham Charles E. Fritch
  • We are the anvil now; wait till our turn comes to be sledgehammer!

    Dulcibel Henry Peterson
  • Compressed air or steam works the drill and the sledgehammer.

    Diggers in the Earth Eva March Tappan
  • My heart was going like a sledgehammer as the critical moment approached.

    The Silent Bullet Arthur B. Reeve
  • Plury splattered like a charlotte russe hit by a sledgehammer.

    Bizarre Lawton Mackall
British Dictionary definitions for sledgehammer

sledgehammer

/ˈslɛdʒˌhæmə/
noun
1.
a large heavy hammer with a long handle used with both hands for heavy work such as forging iron, breaking rocks, etc
2.
(modifier) resembling the action of a sledgehammer in power, ruthlessness, etc: a sledgehammer blow
verb
3.
(transitive) to strike (something) with or as if with a sledgehammer
Word Origin
C15 sledge, from Old English slecg a large hammer; related to Old Norse sleggja, Middle Dutch slegge
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for sledgehammer
n.

late 15c., from sledge (n.1) + hammer (n.). As a verb, from 1834. Old English had slegebytel "hammer," from beetle (n.2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for sledgehammer

Word Value for sledgehammer

21
24
Scrabble Words With Friends