verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

Nearby words

  1. hammam,
  2. hamman's syndrome,
  3. hamman-rich syndrome,
  4. hammarskjöld,
  5. hammarskjöld, dag,
  6. hammer and sickle,
  7. hammer and tongs,
  8. hammer away at,
  9. hammer beam,
  10. hammer blow


    under the hammer, for sale at public auction: The old estate and all its furnishings went under the hammer.

Origin of hammer

before 1000; Middle English hamer, Old English hamor; cognate with German Hammer hammer, Old Norse hamarr hammer, crag; orig. made of stone; probably akin to Russian kámen' stone

Related forms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for hammer out

hammer out

verb (tr, adverb)

to shape or remove with or as if with a hammer
to form or produce (an agreement, plan, etc) after much discussion or dispute



a hand tool consisting of a heavy usually steel head held transversely on the end of a handle, used for driving in nails, beating metal, etc
any tool or device with a similar function, such as the moving part of a door knocker, the striking head on a bell, etc
a power-driven striking tool, esp one used in forging. A pneumatic hammer delivers a repeated blow from a pneumatic ram, a drop hammer uses the energy of a falling weight
a part of a gunlock that rotates about a fulcrum to strike the primer or percussion cap, either directly or via a firing pin
  1. a heavy metal ball attached to a flexible wire: thrown in competitions
  2. the event or sport of throwing the hammer
an auctioneer's gavel
a device on a piano that is made to strike a string or group of strings causing them to vibrate
anatomy the nontechnical name for malleus
curling the last stone thrown in an end
go under the hammer or come under the hammer to be offered for sale by an auctioneer
hammer and tongs with great effort or energyfighting hammer and tongs
on someone's hammer Australian and NZ slang
  1. persistently demanding and critical of someone
  2. in hot pursuit of someone


to strike or beat (a nail, wood, etc) with or as if with a hammer
(tr) to shape or fashion with or as if with a hammer
(tr; foll by in or into) to impress or force (facts, ideas, etc) into (someone) through constant repetition
(intr) to feel or sound like hammeringhis pulse was hammering
(intr often foll by away) to work at constantly
(tr) British
  1. to question in a relentless manner
  2. to criticize severely
informal to inflict a defeat on
(tr) slang to beat, punish, or chastise
(tr) stock exchange
  1. to announce the default of (a member)
  2. to cause prices of (securities, the market, etc) to fall by bearish selling
See also hammer out

Derived Formshammerer, nounhammer-like, adjective

Word Origin for hammer

Old English hamor; related to Old Norse hamarr crag, Old High German hamar hammer, Old Slavonic kamy stone

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

Word Origin and History for hammer out
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for hammer out





The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with hammer out

hammer out

Work out with considerable effort, as in It took weeks of negotiations to hammer out an acceptable compromise. This usage likens intellectual effort to shaping metal with the blows of a hammer. [Mid-1700s]


In addition to the idioms beginning with hammer

  • hammer and tongs
  • hammer away at
  • hammer out

also see:

  • under the hammer
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.