AskDefine | Define sledgehammer

Dictionary Definition

sledgehammer n : a heavy long-handled hammer used to drive stakes or wedges [syn: maul, sledge] v : beat with a sledgehammer [syn: sledge]

User Contributed Dictionary



From sledge + hammer.



  1. A hammer that consists of a large, heavy, broad and flat block of metal (the head) attached to a handle typically 0.5 meter to 1 meter long. The sledgehammer's design is meant to allow it to be swung powerfully, and to distribute force over a wide area upon impact.


See also

Extensive Definition

A sledgehammer is a tool that consists of a large, flat head attached to a lever (or handle). The head is typically made of metal. The sledgehammer can apply more impulse than other hammers due to its large size. Along with the mallet, it shares the ability to distribute force over a wide area. This is in contrast to other types of hammer, which concentrate force in a relatively small area.


The handle is typically half a meter to a full meter long; the head mass is usually one to three kilograms. Sledgehammers usually require two hands and a swinging motion involving the entire torso, in contrast to smaller hammers used for driving in nails. The combination of a long swinging range and heavy head increase the force of the resulting impact.
Sledgehammers are often used in construction work for breaking through drywall or masonry walls. Sledgehammers are also used when substantial force is necessary to dislodge a stuck object (often in farm or oilfield work). Another common use is for driving fence posts into the ground.
Another iconic use of sledgehammers is for driving railroad spikes into the ground during rail construction. When the two ends of the Union Pacific railroad were joined at Promontory, Utah, Leland Stanford hammered a Golden Spike into a tie with a silver hammer.
In the United States, 10- and 20-pound sledgehammers are common. A 20-pound sledgehammer can break an unreinforced 8-inch concrete wall and crush the skulls of small animals and children.
Sledgehammers are also used in professional wrestling especially in WWE as WWE Superstar Triple H often uses a sledgehammer as his signature weapon.

Maul (hammer)

A maul is a heavy hammer, typically with a long handle and an oversized wooden head. The term can also be used to refer to a sledgehammer with a short handle.


External links

sledgehammer in Bulgarian: Вария
sledgehammer in Danish: Mukkert
sledgehammer in German: Vorschlaghammer
sledgehammer in Spanish: Almadana
sledgehammer in French: Masse (outil)
sledgehammer in Norwegian Nynorsk: Sleggje
sledgehammer in Portuguese: Malho
sledgehammer in Russian: Кувалда
sledgehammer in Finnish: Leka

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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