So far I could not find any reasonable translation for "sledgehammer argument". Automatic translations spit out "argumento de mazo." However, everything indicates to me this is just one of those totally non-idiomatic automatic translations that make no sense.

Alternative English expressions from Wikipedia are: "thought-terminating cliché" (also known as a semantic stop-sign, a thought-stopper, bumper sticker logic, or cliché thinking)"

4 Answers 4



To my ear

a sledge-hammer argument

is best translated as

un argumento demoledor

Since the verb demoler means to demolish, to knock-down

Del lat. demolīri.
Conjug. c. mover.

  1. tr. Deshacer, derribar, arruinar.

We are talking about something that "beats" a discussion in a way in which "eliminates all opposition". Note that sledge-hammers "are most useful for demolishing work"

(..) they are perfect to use for demolition work, driving large things like stakes into the ground and for breaking through hard materials

I initially also thought of the word contundente (see lat contundere to crush, to beat, to pound to pieces) since in that word Spanish also holds a direct meaning associated with arguments.

To add more punch the expression could optionally carry the adjective "devastador*, or the adverb "devastadoramente" since devastar means to destroy, reduce something into pieces or ashes)

  • That cursor on the image really confused me for a moment.
    – Nzall
    Feb 5, 2021 at 9:09
  • haha, I fixed that, thanks!
    – ipp
    Feb 5, 2021 at 11:13
  • I thought "frase matona" (killer phrase) or "argumento matón" (killer argument)
    – Barranka
    Feb 6, 2021 at 19:28

You can use argumento irrebatible:

  1. adj. Que no se puede rebatir o refutar.

or argumento irrefutable:

  1. adj. Que no se puede refutar.

where refutar means

  1. tr. Contradecir o impugnar con argumentos o razones lo que otros dicen.

Comparing these suggestions to the ones in RubioRic's answer, Google has 166000 results for "argumento decisivo", 36400 results for "argumento irrefutable", 13400 results for "argumento irrebatible", and 793 results for "argumento terminante".

  • +1 for the other options and the comparison :-)
    – RubioRic
    Feb 4, 2021 at 8:25
  • @RubioRic you win this time ;) but I do say "argumento irrefutable" more often, that is why I added the option.
    – wimi
    Feb 4, 2021 at 8:41
  • Both are correct, but I would say that "argumento irrefutable" is more common. That doesn't mean that "argumento irrebatible" is non-idiomatic, it's perfectly fine too. Other proposals such us "contundente" or "de peso" (added by me) are also OK, but they mean something like "strong argument", not necessary "strong argument that eliminates all opposition". "Terminante" or "decisivo" can also match, but they are less used refering to an argument.
    – naggety
    Feb 4, 2021 at 14:45

I think that the adjective - equivalent to sledge-hammer in this context - that you are looking for is terminante. You gave me the idea with "though-terminating cliché"

According to the Free Dictionary a sledge-hammer argument is

A strong argument that eliminates all opposition

According to the DLE

2. adj. Categórico, concluyente, que hace imposible cualquier insistencia o discusión sobre la cosa de que se trata.

The highlighted text is almost a direct translation of the idiom definition provided by the Free Dictionary, it says that "terminante" means that something makes impossible to continue insisting or discussing.

Another option is decisivo


1.adj. Que decide o resuelve.

Oxford Dictionary

2. Having or showing the ability to make decisions quickly and effectively.


un argumento contundente

Contundente literally means "blunt" and conveys, somewhat, the same kind of image that sledgehammer does. It's rarely used with argumento, but it can be used this way.

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