From Middle English hamer, from Old English hamor, from Proto-West Germanic *hamar, from Proto-Germanic *hamaraz ("tool with a stone head") (compare West Frisian hammer, Low German Hamer, Dutch hamer, German Hammer, Danish hammer, Swedish hammare), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂eḱmoros (compare Sanskrit अश्मर ("stony")), itself a derivation from *h₂éḱmō.
For *h₂éḱmō, compare Lithuanian akmuõ, Latvian akmens, Russian камень, Serbo-Croatian kamēn, Albanian kmesë ("sickle"), Ancient Greek ἄκμων ("meteor rock, anvil"), Avestan 𐬥𐬀𐬨𐬯𐬀, Sanskrit अश्मन्) (root *h₂eḱ-).
Originally signalled by knocking with a wooden mallet.
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