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.
[Scot]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’ 🎵 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. constr. with the, ideal, perfect, exactly what is wanted, thus phr. that’s the hammer[Stock Exchange imagery].

[UK]‘Old Calabar’ Won in a Canter I 10: ‘I flatter myself they [i.e. hunters] are ra-ther the ’ammer’.
[UK](con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier and Sailor Words 114: Hammer, That’s The: Excellent. A good notion.

5. 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.

6. (N.Z. prison) the toughest, most respected inmate; one who has made and carries a weapon.

[NZ]I. Hamilton Till Human Voices Wake Us 115: They all managed to get weapons [...] Another name for them in the boob was the hammer gang.
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 83/2: hammer, the n. 1the toughest, most respected inmate in the prison.

7. (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.

8. (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 moreS 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. 🌐 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.
[US]M. McBride Swollen Red Sun 32: He waited until Bo was beside his truck and then dropped the hammer.
[US]S.A. Crosby Razorblade Tears 189: Buddy Lee kept the hammer down.
[US]T. Pluck Boy from County Hell 276: He cut the wheel hard and dropped the hammer.

9. (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.’.

10. (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’ 🎵 All my boys knock hammers / Now all of your niggas damaged.
67 ‘Milly Rock’ 🎵 Hammers and dingers galore.
Young M.A. ‘OOOUUU’ 🎵 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

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.

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.
[US]J. Ellroy Widespread Panic 185: He’s [...] the instigator, the boss pimp and the guy who drops the hammer.

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?’.
[US]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. 🌐 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.

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 86: 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.
under the hammer

in trouble, at a disadvantage.

[UK]Rolling Stones ‘Hearts for Sale’ 🎵 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’.