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[slej-ham-er] /ˈslɛdʒˌhæm ər/
a large heavy hammer wielded with both hands.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
to hammer, beat, or strike with or as if with a sledgehammer.
crudely or ruthlessly forceful; lacking all dexterity or grace:
the artist's sledgehammer approach.
1485-95; sledge2 + hammer Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for sledgehammer
  • It opted, probably in the last seventy-two hours, for the sledgehammer.
  • Six foot three, and could use a nine-pound sledgehammer with one hand.
  • At one point, officers with a sledgehammer and a crowbar disappeared into a back room.
  • However, as drafted it has a major flaw--it uses a sledgehammer when a scalpel is desired.
  • Seismic energy is created manually with a sledgehammer or automatically by a compressed air driven hammer.
  • Levels rails by driving wedges beneath track with maul or sledgehammer.
  • While in the attic, the firefighter is required to use a sledgehammer to vent the roof.
  • If a few problem areas exist, they should be addressed, but please put the sledgehammer back in the shed.
  • In the end, the fly gets away and all you're left with is the damage caused by the sledgehammer.
  • For this event, the candidate uses the sledgehammer to strike a measuring device in a target area until the buzzer activates.
British Dictionary definitions for sledgehammer


a large heavy hammer with a long handle used with both hands for heavy work such as forging iron, breaking rocks, etc
(modifier) resembling the action of a sledgehammer in power, ruthlessness, etc: a sledgehammer blow
(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
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Word Origin and History for sledgehammer

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
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