hammer out


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.

hammer out

1. To strike something repeatedly in order to remove a dent from it. A noun or pronoun can be used between "hammer" and "out." I'm sure my mechanic could hammer out that dent in your door.
2. To strike something, typically a metal, repeatedly in order to stretch it out and make it thinner. A noun or pronoun can be used between "hammer" and "out." We need to hammer out the iron before we can use it in this project.
3. To come to an agreement after lengthy deliberation or discussion. A noun or pronoun can be used between "hammer" and "out." We're still trying to hammer out the details of this contract.
4. To play something on the piano. A noun or pronoun can be used between "hammer" and "out." I wonder how many lessons I'll need before I can hammer out an actual song.
See also: hammer, out

hammer something out

 
1. Lit. to hammer a dent away; to make a dent even with the surrounding surface. I'm going to have to have someone hammer this dent in my fender out. It will take a while to hammer out the dent.
2. Lit. to expand something by hammering it thinner. He hammered the gold out into a very thin sheet. He hammered out the gold into thin sheets.
3. Fig. to arrive at an agreement through argument and negotiation. The two parties could not hammer a contract out. At last, we were able to hammer out an agreement.
4. Fig. to play something on the piano. She hammered the song out loudly and without feeling. Listen to John hammer out that song on the piano.
See also: hammer, out

hammer out

Work out with considerable effort, as in It took weeks of negotiations to hammer out an acceptable compromise. This usage likens intellectual effort to shaping metal with the blows of a hammer. [Mid-1700s]
See also: hammer, out

hammer out

v.
1. To expand the surface area of something, as a metal, by striking it with a hammer: The artisan hammered out the copper plate before engraving it. The blacksmith started by hammering the iron out.
2. To arrive at some agreement after much discussion, argument or negotiation: The warring nations finally hammered out a treaty. The manager hammered a vacation schedule out that everyone liked.
See also: hammer, out