Very violently; with full force: We went at each other hammer and tongs
[1708+; reflecting use of both the blacksmith's main tools]
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D. Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers. Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with hammer-tongs
Forcefully, with great vigor. For example, She went at the weeds hammer and tongs, determined to clean out the long neglected flowerbed. Often put as
go at it hammer and tongs, this phrase alludes to the blacksmith's tools.
[ c. 1700