Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hammer n.1

also love hammer

1. (later use US black) the penis; cit. 1719 refers, as a double entendre, to the ‘hammer’ of a stereotypically lecherous tinker.

[UK]Valenger ‘Cockolds Kallender’ in Arundel MS I 218: [Her] Anvill bydeth battring still of hammers great and smale.
Fletcher Tragedy of Valentinian I iii: aecius: I am too course for Ladies; my embraces [...] Would break their tender bodies. emperor: Never feare it, They are stronger than ye think, they’le hold the hammer.
[UK]Fletcher Pilgrim I i: She is malleable: she’ll endure the hammer, And why not that strong workman that strikes deepest?
[UK]Mercurius Fumigosus 22 25 Oct.–1 Nov. 190: Before her Book I’de Knock, I’de see th’ Devil dam her, / Unless I made account to spoile my Stone and Hammer.
[UK] ‘Song’ in Playford Pills to Purge Melancholy II 199: Her Husband she said could scarce raise up his Hammer, / His strength and his Tools were worn out long ago.
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy III 52: Some bring him Basons, some bring him Bowls, / All Wenches pray him to stop up their holes, / Tink goes the hammer, the Skillet and the Scummer. [Ibid.] IV 195: Her Husband she said could scarce raise up his Hammer, His strength and his Tools were worn out.
[UK] in Penkethman’s Jests II 75: Good Lad with your Hammer come hither to Morrow.
[UK]Order of the Beggar's Benison and Merryland (1892) 19: The Anvil lasts longer than the Hammer — the only Consolation the Undermost has.
[UK] ‘The Tinker’ in Secret Songster 43: He put his hammer in her hand, and she gave it a jerk, / To let the cuckold know that the tinker was at work.
Moses Andrews ‘Ten Pound Hammer’ [lyrics] I got a ten pound hammer, the women love to hear it sound, / They says, ‘Come on Moses, go and drive it down’.
[US]N. Algren ‘Paper Daisies’ in Entrapment (2009) 104: ‘Come down I hammer your board,’the carpenter invited her with a leer [...] ‘You try carpenter’s hammer! You try, you like! Try for size! Come quick!’.
[US](con. WWII) J.O. Killens And Then We Heard The Thunder (1964) 292: Boy, I have gotten so much pussy in my day [...] when I do die they gon say, I died with my hammer in my hand.
[Ire]J. Morrow Confessions of Proinsias O’Toole 43: His hammer hung down the left side instead of the right.
[US]J.L. Gwaltney Drylongso 160: Any cow can take ten times as much hammer as any bull can throw.
[US](con. 1920–57) Randolph & Legman Ozark Folksongs and Folklore II 787: Other common names for the male organ are [...] hammer.
[US]T. Udo Vatican Bloodbath 80: Clarence T. Blackbird dressed as a Cabaret-era Lisa Minneli eagerly sucking on a sailor’s brutally engorged love hammer.

2. the testicles.

[Ire] ‘Darby o’Gallagher’ Luke Caffrey’s Gost 2: No Doctor of skill can cure it so well, / As the two smacking hammers of Darby o’Gallagher.

3. (also hammer man) a strong puncher.

[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 93: Hammer (ring) ? when a man hits very hard, chiefly with a favourite hand, his blows are said to ‘fall like those of a sledge-hammer,’ Such boxers are hammering fighters, that do not defend their own vitals, cannot make sure of a blow, and are termed hammerers and hammermen.
[UK]Annals of Sporting 1 Jan. 51: He is a hammer-man who hits round and hard.

4. a bodyguard, a thug.

[UK]D. Totheroh Burlesque 158: He’s gettin’ in bad, an’ there’s plenty o’ hammers out for him.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 524: [...] late C.19–20.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 121: Last night Reverend Bones and another hammer dueled over a carton of milk.

5. (US black) a woman’s thigh.

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 142: Terms for [...] thighs, hammers, suggest that males appreciate ample legs and thighs on women.

6. (US) the accelerator; thus put the hammer down or drop the hammer, to accelerate.

Family Circle Aug. 20: He’s eastbound and he’s got the hammer down.
[US]Time 2 Jan. 36: ‘Modulating,’ (talking) while ‘dropping the hammer’ (accelerating) is more dangerous to the driver than to his speech.
[US]G.V. Higgins Rat on Fire (1982) 88: Put the hammer down and I didn’t let her up until I hit Ludlow.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett White Shoes 143: Les dropped the Jag back into second and put the hammer down. [Internet] Put the hammer down (Phrase) Source: Biker Group. Meaning: To start going as fast as you can when you are feeling good. Context: Bragging or describing a moment when you started going very fast; usually faster that the other riders. Collected: 10/10/1999.

7. (Irish) a turn, e.g. take a right-hand hammer.

[Ire]F. Mac Anna Cartoon City 14: ‘Take a right-hand hammer,’ Dez said. ‘Short cut.’.

8. (US black) a gun, thus knock hammers, to fire weapons.

[US]R. Price Lush Life 10: ‘A whistle?’ Lugo makes a finger gun. ‘You mean a hammer?’ .
Chief Keef ‘Don’t make No Sense’ [lyrics] All my boys knock hammers / Now all of your niggas damaged.
67 ‘Milly Rock’ [lyrics] Hammers and dingers galore.
Young M.A. ‘OOOUUU’ [lyrics] Like I don't always keep the hammer next to me / Like I ain’t got a hitter to the left of me.

In compounds

hammerman (n.)

a womanizer.

[Ire] ‘Darby o’Gallagher’ Luke Caffrey’s Gost 2: Well known by the ladies to be a gay froliker / As he passes by the ladies replies, / There goes the bold hammerman Darby o’Gallagher.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

hammer-handle (n.) (also hoe-handle) [supposed resemblance]

(US) the penis.

[US]Randolph & Wilson Down in the Holler 101: Several witnesses used long tool and hoe-handle when they meant penis.
[US](con. 1920–57) Randolph & Legman Ozark Folksongs and Folklore II 787: Other common names for the male organ are [...] hammer-handle.

see separate entries.

hammer-man (n.)

(US black) an authoritarian figure.

[US]AS Dec. 288: Hammerman. Generally, anyone with more authority than the speaker.
[US]C. Major Dict. Afro-Amer. Sl. 63: Hammer-man An authoritarian figure.

In phrases

drop the hammer (on) (v.)

1. (orig. US) to take decisive action (against).

J.A. Williams Capt. Blackman 14: The guys’ll come splashing down here [...] and they’ll [i.e. ambushers] drop the hammer on them .
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 228: It felt good to be the one to drop the hammer for a change.
[US]E. Little Another Day in Paradise 178: I still couldn’t drop the hammer on Jewels.
[US]V. Gischler Gun Monkeys 221: He decided to drop the hammer on everybody hard.

2. to shoot.

[US]C. Heath A-Team 2 (1984) 166: I’m a fugitive, just like yourself, and every now and then I like to drop the hammer on a piece of dirt like you, just to keep in practice.

3. to humiliate.

[US]C. Goffard Snitch Jacket 88: If some college cocksucker tried to drop the hammer on me with ‘lagniappe’, I’d fire back with ‘epistemoological.’.
how’s your hammer hanging?

(US) a phr. used to inquire about someone’s state of well being; the typically facetious answer being: ‘A little to the left and in the dirt’; note extrapolation in cit. 1961.

[US] ‘Joe Louis the Pride of Harlem’ [comic strip] in B. Adelman Tijuana Bibles (1997) 123: Hello big boy! How’s yo’ old hammer hanging.
[US]J. Mitchell McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon (2001) 311: ‘Hello, Pop,’ a young clammer said to the man in an adjoining boat, a sullen old man in wet overalls, ‘how’s your hammer hanging?’.
[Ire]J.P. Donleavy Ginger Man (1958) 318: And how’s your hammer hanging. Step this way, Danger.
[US]J. Kirkwood There Must Be a Pony! 242: One guy said, ‘Hey, man – how’s the stem end of your bladder?’ ‘Hanging!’ the other one said.
[US]T. Berger Reinhart in Love (1963) 263: Fedder! How’s your hammer hanging?
[US](con. c.1900) J. Thompson King Blood (1989) 61: Hi’ya Gran’pa, Uncle Ike [...] How’s your hammer hangin’?
[Ire]B. Behan ‘The Catacombs’ in After the Wake 72: When I walked in, he said to me, ‘How is the hammer hanging?’.
[US]Alt. Eng. Dict. [Internet] how’s your hammer hangin’? (phrase) Used to inquire as to one’s state of well being. [...] John: How’s your hammer hangin’ Joe? Joe: A little to the left and in the dirt.
[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 438: Let’s jaw first. ‘Hey, Bob, how’s the hammer hangin’?’ ‘Long and strong, Wayne, how about you?’.
put the hammer on (v.) (US)

1. to take decisive action.

[US]Freeman & Gilbert Larceny, Inc. [film script] They put the hammer on his parole [HDAS].

2. to demand money.

[UK]J. Curtis They Drive by Night 206: It was no use trying to put the hammer on a man like that.

3. to attack verbally, to slander.

[US]G.V. Higgins Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) 76: It’s usually about someone else, [...] somebody that put the hammer on him and he’s looking to get back.
[US]G.V. Higgins Cogan’s Trade (1975) 72: I’m not puting the hammer on Mike [...] He’s just expensive.
[US]N.Y. Post 11 Aug. 37: Guys like to put the hammer on him [HDAS].

4. (also put the hammer to) to pressurize.

q. in R. Preshus Public Administration 383: If you have someone out there who is about to overthrow the Government [...] you ought to put the hammer on him.
J. Dinges Our Man in Panama 98: Without trying to excuse the unwillingness of General Torrijos to really put the hammer on him, the general conception is that he is reluctant.
[UK]K. Richards Life 425: I never put the hammer on hard. I didn’t make a move.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 188: They put the hammer to her. ‘Turn informant or get used to munching muff the next dozen years’ [...] They laid it on thick.
that’s the hammer [Stock Exchange/auction-house imagery]

ideal, perfect, exactly what is wanted.

[UK](con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier and Sailor Words 114: Hammer, That’s The: Excellent. A good notion.
under the hammer

in trouble, at a disadvantage.

[UK]Rolling Stones ‘Hearts for Sale’ [lyrics] I’m under the hammer.

In exclamations

by the hammers of hell!

an excl. of surprise or disappointment.

[Ire]L.O’Flaherty Insurrection 108: A rank outsider! Aw! By the hammers of hell!
sell your hammer and buy a horn!

(US) a dismissive excl, suggesting that a speaker stop complaining and start offering praise.

[US]T.A. Dorgan Indoor Sports 12 Mar. [synd. cartoon] Aw sell your hammer and buy a horn.
Frankfort Dly Index (Frankfort, KS) 3 Sept. 1/3: To habitual critics we pass on the following excellent suggestion which we recently heard: ‘Sell your hammer and buy a horn’.
[US]Tennessean (Nashville, TN) 13 Sept. 5/7: [advert] Sell Your Hammer and Buy a Horn. Don’t Knock, BOOST for the Tennessee State Fair.
letter in Amarillo Globe-Times (TX) 3 May5/3: As long as you have to live where, why not ‘sell your hammer and buy a horn’.
[US]Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ) 11 Aug. 6/1: ‘Sell your hammer and buy a horn.’ That was an oft heard admonition in an earlier and more expansive period of American history. A free translation would be, ‘Quit knocking and start boosting’.