I have recently posted a question in English Language and Usage the use of nailed, screwed, and hammered in one sentence. And I used this sentence for correction:

Can someone be so screwed because someone nailed an argument that made him hammered?

Someone commented that my sentence is wrong because I used the word hammered incorrectly. He stated that it means drunk.
However, according to my research about hammered, it can also mean to attack or criticize forcefully and relentlessly.

What does the slang word actually mean?

  • 6
    In your sentence, one would be unable to tell which figurative meaning is intended, since all three verbs can be used figuratively in a number of ways. Also, your phrases are not idiomatic: "be so screwed because" and "made him hammered".
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 12:37
  • 3
    I think if you re-worded the end of your sentence to say "an argument that hammered him", then you'd be conveying the intended meaning. The phrases still would not be idiomatic.
    – thelr
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 20:13

3 Answers 3


The problem you ran into is that idioms are often fixed grammatically—you have to use them in certain grammatical contexts for them to mean the same thing.

When you use "hammered" as an adjective, it can mean drunk, and usually doesn't mean attacked:

He is hammered.

He was so hammered.

It made him hammered.

We got him hammered.

When you use "hammer" as a transitive verb, it can mean attack, and usually doesn't mean drunk:

That will hammer him.

She hammered him.

They had hammered him.

Sometimes it can be ambiguous, without more context:

He had been hammered.

He got hammered.

  • 4
    +1 "made him hammered" is only going to refer to alcohol making someone drunk.
    – AndyT
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 14:55
  • 4
    But we would say "got him hammered". That moonshine got me so hammered. I got so hammered on that moonshine. I can't remember anything from that night. I was so hammered.
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 15:09
  • @TRomano yes, good example, I'll add it.
    – Dan Getz
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 17:32
  • 1
    Also, I have never heard "hammered" used to mean "attacked" (even in the context of fantasy fiction involving warhammers). Even the sentence "that will hammer him" sounds to me like a statement about an alcoholic beverage. Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 23:38
  • 1
    @KyleStrand I have, in the context of "hammer it home", meaning to forcefully explain something leaving no room for argument. "He hammered him" can mean someone lost an argument with no doubt about that outcome.
    – gbjbaanb
    Commented Jul 7, 2015 at 9:56

Generally speaking, I believe that "hammered" is used in the sense of "drunk".

As for your comment, "that made him hammered" is, while grammatically correct, very unusual and likely to draw unfavorable attention. Worse, I do not think it conveys what you wanted to say.

If you meant to use it in the sense of being forcefully attacked, then perhaps you could have said: "Can someone be hammered with a solid argument so hard that it screws him up?"


I think you need some more context in your sentence:

  • "Nailed" can mean to hit the target precisely.
  • "Hammered" can mean either drunk, or attacked strongly.
  • "Screwed up" can mean to cause (someone) to be emotionally or mentally troubled.

To use all these in the way you may have meant:

His opponent nailed the argument so well that it just hammered him into such submission that he was totally screwed up to the point of being incoherent.

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