A hammer is a tool used for striking objects when building something or tearing something apart.

A carpenter uses a hammer to pound nails into pieces of wood. (What is a nail?)



The person who swings the hammer grips it by the handle and aims for a nail. The hammer strikes the nail on the head. The head is the top part of the nail. The face of the hammer hits the head of the nail. The claw is opposite the face. It’s used for pulling nails out of wood.

hammer and nail

You can also use a hammer for breaking something open, such as a piggy bank.

hammer and piggy bank

A sledehammer is used for breaking rocks and pounding hard surfaces. A sledgehammer is very heavy.


A jackhammer is used for breaking up and removing concrete.

jackhammer jackhammer


The hammer and sickle are symbols for communist ideology.

hammer and sickle

The word "hammer" is also used a verb and as a gerund:

  • Someone is hammering nails into a roof. (verb)
  • A carpenter hammers nails into two by fours when building a house. (verb)
  • All that hammering is making a lot of noise. (gerund)
  • Please stop that hammering. (gerund)

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This page was published on May 19, 2017.