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between the hammer and the anvil




Referring to the metal on a blacksmith's anvil, which is beaten with a hammer.

Prepositional phraseEdit

between the hammer and the anvil

  1. (principally Britain, idiomatic) With the choice between two unpleasant or distasteful options; in a predicament or quandary.
    • 1848, Jean Henri Merle d'Aubigné, The Protector, a vindication, page 250:
      Yet for a time the nation was again placed between the democracy of the levellers and the despotism of the Stuarts, — between the hammer and the anvil.
    • 1990, Judas Priest, Between The Hammer and the Anvil
      The sinner / Will testify / They'll suffer / When sacrificed on high / The burning sermons purge their evil words / Between the hammer and the anvil