from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A banging noise heard in a water pipe following an abrupt alteration of the flow with resultant pressure surges.
  • n. A banging noise in steam pipes, caused by steam bubbles entering a cold pipe partially filled with water.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A surge of pressure in a pipe carrying a fluid; especially the banging sound in a steam or hot water pipe caused by bubbles of air, or by an abrupt alteration of the flow.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • A vessel partly filled with water, exhausted of air, and hermetically sealed. When reversed or shaken, the water being unimpeded by air, strikes the sides in solid mass with a sound like that of a hammer.
  • A concussion, or blow, made by water in striking, as against the sides of a pipe or vessel containing it.
  • A metal hammer used when heated, as by dipping in hot water, to blister the skin, as for counterritation.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The concussion of a moving volume of water in a pipe or passage, caused by sudden stoppage of flow, as by the abrupt closing of a faucet.
  • n. The noise, resembling a blow of a hammer, caused by the presence of water in a steam-pipe when live steam is passed through it.
  • n. A philosophical toy consisting of a hermetically sealed tube from which the air has been exhausted and which contains some water. It is so called because the water strikes against the tube with a noise similar to that of a hammer, there being no air to impede its motion.
  • n. A metal hammer heated in a flame or in boiling water.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the banging sound of steam in pipes


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  • If all you have is a water hammer, everything looks like a water nail.

    May 8, 2017

  • "Water hammer (or, more generally, fluid hammer) is a pressure surge or wave caused when a fluid (usually a liquid but sometimes also a gas) in motion is forced to stop or change direction suddenly (momentum change). A water hammer commonly occurs when a valve closes suddenly at an end of a pipeline system, and a pressure wave propagates in the pipe. It is also called hydraulic shock."


    May 8, 2017