A worker operating a jackhammer.


jackhammer (plural jackhammers)

  1. A portable percussive power tool that combines a hammer and chisel used to drill or break hard matter, for instance rock or concrete.




jackhammer (third-person singular simple present jackhammers, present participle jackhammering, simple past and past participle jackhammered)

  1. (intransitive) To use a jackhammer.
    • 1985, Don DeLillo, White Noise, Penguin, 1986, Chapter 33, p. 254,[1]
      Early the next day a crew came to fix the street. Vernon was out there at once, watching them jackhammer and haul the asphalt []
  2. (transitive) To break (something) using a jackhammer.
    • 1991, Peter Laufer, Iron Curtain Rising, San Francisco: Mercury House, Chapter 9, p. 171,[2]
      The foundations for the barrier had been jackhammered away; the piles of broken concrete were just left alongside the road.
    • 2002, Emily Schultz, “Foam” in Black Coffee Night, Toronto: Insomniac Press, p. 12,[3]
      In the morning, the street is being jackhammered up.
  3. (transitive) To form (something) using a jackhammer.
    • 1944, Ernie Pyle, Brave Men, New York: Henry Holt, Chapter 6, p. 69,[4]
      Small ledges had been jackhammered at each end of the crater and timbers bolted into them, forming abutments of the bridge that was to come.
    • 1988, Scott C. Davis, The World of Patience Gromes: Making and Unmaking a Black Community, Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, Chapter 3, p. 49,[5]
      Richmond already spent tax money on an engineering department whose employees parked their trucks in the street, jackhammered holes in the pavement, and repaired storm sewers []
    • 2009, Kage Baker, The Empress of Mars, New York: Tom Doherty Associates, Chapter 27, p. 258,[6]
      He was standing at a work table he’d jackhammered from a boulder, placidly sculpting a rose on its work surface.
  4. (intransitive, figuratively) To move like a jackhammer.
    • 1977, Betsy Haynes, The Ghost of the Gravestone Hearth, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Chapter 2, p. 20,[7]
      [] a bolt of lightning jackhammered across the sky, interrupting his dream.
    • 2003, Beverly Barton, Grace under Fire, New York: Silhouette, Chapter 16, pp. 218-219,[8]
      When he jackhammered into her, she clutched the bedspread and braced herself for the onslaught.
    • 2010, Dennis Lehane, Moonlight Mile, New York: William Morrow, Chapter 7, p. 69,[9]
      His left knee jackhammered under the desk, his right hand patted a steady bongo beat on the top.
    1. (of the heart or pulse) To beat hard, to pound.
      • 1995, Margaret Wild, Beast, New York: Scholastic, Chapter 2, p. 7,[10]
        [] he lay rigid, his heart jackhammering, telling himself that there was nothing out there, nothing []
      • 2002, Tom Piccirilli, The Night Class, New York: Leisure Books, Chapter 1, p. 7,[11]
        The paranoia came on pretty damn strong for this early in the morning, his high blood pressure—160 over 90 at twenty-two—jackhammering in his wrists, his thoughts caterwauling beneath the moment.
  5. (transitive, figuratively) To move (something) like a jackhammer.
    • 1999, Dean Koontz, False Memory, New York: Bantam, 2000, Chapter 68, p. 611,[12]
      He [] drew his knees toward his chest as far as the cramped space would allow, and jackhammered his feet into the forward wall of the trunk, which was formed by the backseat of the car.
    • 2006, Danielle Trussoni, Falling through the Earth, New York: Henry Holt, Chapter 4, p. 44,[13]
      Then, before the lumberjack had a chance to react, Dad grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and jackhammered his head into the bar.
  6. (transitive, figuratively) To strike (something) repeatedly with force, to pound.
    • 1966, “Rolling Thunder,” Time, 15 April, 1966,[14]
      Guam-based B-52 bombers, newly modified to haul 60,000 lbs. of bombs each, jackhammered a Viet Cong radio and communications center 35 miles northeast of Saigon.
    • 1985, Andrew Coburn, Sweetheart, London: Secker & Warburg, Chapter 20, p. 197,[15]
      He didn’t make love to her; he jackhammered her.
    • 1997, Richard Flanagan, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, New York: Grove, 2014, Chapter 78,[16]
      [] the thought jackhammered his heart and mind.

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