Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?


[ham-er-hed] /ˈhæm ərˌhɛd/
the part of a hammer designed for striking.
a shark of the genus Sphyrna, especially S. zygaena, having the head expanded laterally so as to resemble a double-headed hammer, sometimes dangerous to swimmers.
Also called hammerkop
[ham-er-kop] /ˈhæm ərˌkɒp/ (Show IPA)
. a brown heronlike African bird, Scopus umbretta, having the head so crested as to resemble a claw hammer.
Slang. blockhead; dunce; lout.
1525-35; hammer + head
Related forms
hammerheaded, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for hammerhead
  • Scalloped hammerhead sharks, also on the globally endangered species list, also live in the waters.
  • Get up close and personal with sea turtles, fish, rays and hammerhead sharks.
  • Excepting the rare sighting of a hammerhead or reef shark, it is virtually devoid of sea life.
  • With lethargic grace, the hammerhead shark slices through the blue gloom.
  • hammerhead sharks are consummate predators that use their oddly shaped heads to improve their ability to find prey.
  • If the idea proves to be valid, it could provide a big piece of the puzzle in the mystery of hammerhead shark migration.
  • The hammerhead shark uses its head to pin down prey, or food, while eating.
  • Thousands of variations on the theme exist-think of hammerhead sharks, of anteaters, of toucans.
British Dictionary definitions for hammerhead


any shark of the genus Sphyrna and family Sphyrnidae, having a flattened hammer-shaped head
a heavily built tropical African wading bird, Scopus umbretta, related to the herons, having a dark plumage and a long backward-pointing crest: family Scopidae, order Ciconiiformes
a large African fruit bat, Hypsignathus monstrosus, with a large square head and hammer-shaped muzzle
Derived Forms
hammerheaded, adjective
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 hammerhead

type of shark, 1843, from hammer (n.) + head (n.). So called for its broad, transverse head.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for hammerhead



A stupid person: The best way out is for one of the three to be a hammerhead (1930s+)

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
Encyclopedia Article for hammerhead

(Scopus umbretta), African wading bird, the sole species of the family Scopidae, within the order Ciconiiformes, which also includes herons, flamingos, and storks. The hammerhead ranges over Africa south of the Sahara and occurs on Madagascar and in southwestern Arabia. It is about 60 cm (2 feet) long, nearly uniform umber or earthy brown in colour, and bears a conspicuous horizontal crest on the back of its large head. The heavy, compressed, hook-tipped bill and short legs are black. Active especially at twilight, the bird sits beside a stream with its head down or wades slowly, stirring the mud with one foot and then the other, feeding on mollusks, frogs, small fishes, and aquatic insects. It builds an enormous nest of sticks, sometimes 1.8 m (6 feet) across and 1.2 m (4 feet) high, on a rocky ledge or in a tree. The nest is dome shaped with an entrance on the side and a narrow tunnel leading to a central chamber lined with mud. The bird lays three to six chalky-white eggs

Learn more about hammerhead with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for hammerhead

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for hammerhead

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for hammerhead