go at it hammer and tongs

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go at it hammer and tongs

To do something or perform some task with tremendous fervor, determination, energy, or forcefulness. An allusion to the force with which a blacksmith strikes metal using a hammer and tongs. What started as a minor disagreement has escalated into a heated argument, and the two have been going at it hammer and tongs ever since. I need to go at this paper hammer and tongs if I want to keep my A in the class.
See also: and, go, hammer, tongs
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

hammer and tongs

Forcefully, with great vigor. For example, She went at the weeds hammer and tongs, determined to clean out the long neglected flowerbed . Often put as go at it hammer and tongs, this phrase alludes to the blacksmith's tools. [c. 1700]
See also: and, hammer, tongs
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

go at it hammer and tongs

BRITISH, INFORMAL
1. If you go at it hammer and tongs, you do something with a lot of energy. `He loved gardening,' sniffed Mrs Gascoigne. `He went at it hammer and tongs as soon as he got back from work.' Note: You can use hammer and tongs in other structures with a similar meaning. She will go hammer and tongs to get what she wants. They'll come at us from all angles, hammer and tongs, but when we get the ball we'll go at them. It should be a good game.
2. If two people are going at it hammer and tongs, they are having a noisy argument. `They were going at it hammer and tongs.' — `What about?' — `I'm not sure, but they were arguing.' Note: You can also say that one person is going at the other hammer and tongs. Goodness knows how long she had been going hammer and tongs at the child like this. Note: The image here is of a blacksmith holding a piece of heated iron with a pair of tongs (= metal tool for holding hot objects), and striking the iron repeatedly with a hammer.
See also: and, go, hammer, tongs
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

hammer and tongs

with great energy and noise.
The image here is of a blacksmith striking the hot iron removed from the forge with a pair of tongs.
1996 Emma Lathen Brewing Up a Storm The big fight she had with Sean Cushing . They were going at it hammer and tongs.
See also: and, hammer, tongs
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

be/go at somebody/something ˌhammer and ˈtongs

(informal) do something, especially argue or fight, with a lot of energy and noise: The boss went at me hammer and tongs. I’ve never seen him so angry.The couple in the flat upstairs are always at it hammer and tongs.This idiom refers to the loud noise made by a blacksmith at work when he is making horseshoes. He uses a pair of tongs to hold the hot iron and a hammer to beat the iron into the shape of the shoe.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

hammer and tongs, go at it

Engage with great vigor in work, a contest, a fight, or some other undertaking. This metaphor from the blacksmith’s tools— the hammer used to shape hot metal taken from the fire with tongs—replaced an earlier metaphor from the same source, “between the hammer and the anvil,” with a meaning similar to that of between a rock and a hard place. The current expression was in print by 1708 and has been a cliché since the mid-nineteenth century.
See also: and, go, hammer
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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