from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A short-handled hammer, usually with a cylindrical head of wood, used chiefly to drive a chisel or wedge.
  • noun A similar tool with a rubber, leather, or plastic head, used to strike a surface without damaging it.
  • noun Sports A long-handled implement used to strike a ball, as in croquet and polo.
  • noun Music A light hammer with a rounded head for striking a percussion instrument.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A small beetle or wooden hammer used by carpenters, stonecutters, printers, etc., chiefly for driving another tool, as a chisel, or the like. It is wielded with one hand, while the heavier mall requires the use of both hands.
  • noun The wooden hammer used to strike the balls in the game of croquet.
  • noun A dental hammer or plugger. See hammer.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A small maul with a short handle, -- used esp. for driving a tool, as a chisel or the like; also, a light beetle with a long handle, -- used in playing croquet.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A small maul with a short handle, used especially for driving a tool, as a chisel or the like.
  • noun A weapon resembling the tool, but typically much larger.
  • noun A light beetle with a long handle used in playing croquet.
  • noun The stick used to strike the ball in the sport of polo.
  • verb To strike with a mallet.

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

  • noun a light drumstick with a rounded head that is used to strike such percussion instruments as chimes, kettledrums, marimbas, glockenspiels, etc.
  • noun a sports implement with a long handle and a head like a hammer; used in sports (polo or croquet) to hit a ball
  • noun a tool resembling a hammer but with a large head (usually wooden); used to drive wedges or ram down paving stones or for crushing or beating or flattening or smoothing


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

[Middle English, from Old French maillet, diminutive of mail, maul; see maul.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French mallet, maillet ("a wooden hammer, mallet"), diminutive of mal, mail ("a hammer"), from Latin malleus ("a hammer, mall, mallet").


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  • Mallets were indeed beginning to turn into flamingos, and balls into hedgehogs.�?

    —John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War: A New History (New York: Penguin Books, 2005), 120.

    January 9, 2009

  • The Cold War was fought with silly animals? Gosh. The things I've missed by being born in the '80s...

    January 9, 2009

  • Ha! Is that a reference to Alice in Wonderland, c_b?

    January 9, 2009

  • I don't know! Do you think? *ponders*

    January 9, 2009

  • *wondering whether c_b is being sarcastic or earnest*

    January 9, 2009

  • *marvels at the slowly-reappearing mental imagery of flamingo mallets from the illustrated children's book she had once*

    That's right! And they hit the hedgehogs, dammit! God, I hated that. Why would they hit the hedgehogs?!

    January 9, 2009

  • I know! I thought the same thing. But my adult mind (okay, sort of adult mind) tries to tell me that they were only tapping the hedgehogs, after all, and they were rolled up....

    Nah. Doesn't work.

    January 10, 2009

  • Hitting them with flamingos! God, that Lewis Carroll...

    January 10, 2009

  • As I recall, both the hedgehogs and flamingos were more than a bit recalcitrant.

    January 10, 2009

  • Well, they've just had some kind of mushroom

    And their minds are moving low.

    January 10, 2009

  • *snort*

    January 10, 2009