- When you experience a time of great sadness, misery, suffering and misfortune, this is an example of a time when you are said to be in hell.
- When you go to a miserable, unpleasant place to be, this is an example of a time when you might say you are in hell.
- An example of hell is the place where you go in the Christian religion if you are an unrepentant sinner.
- [oftenH-]Bible the place where the spirits of the dead are
- the abode of Satan and of all other devils and of all the damned
- the powers of hell or of evil
- [oftenH-] a state or place of woe and anguish, arrived at by the wicked or unrepentant after death
- any place or condition of evil, pain, disorder, cruelty, etc.
- any extremely disagreeable, unsettling, or punishing treatment or experience, or the cause or source of this
- devilish spirits or excitement: full of hell
Origin of hellMiddle English helle from Old English hel (akin to German hölle, hell and Old Norse Hel, the underworld goddess, Hel) from base of helan, to cover, hide from Indo-European base an unverified form ?el-, to hide, cover up from source Classical Latin celare, to hide
a hell of a
- Slang very much a: an intensifier: a hell of a good ale
- extraordinary, outrageous, terrible, etc.: a hell of a thing to say to one's grandparent
be hell onSlang
- to be very difficult or painful for
- to be very strict or severe with
- to be very destructive or damaging to
for the hell of it
give someone hell
hell to pay
- very bad; awful
- very much
- very fast; quickly
to hell with
- Christianity a. often Hell The place of eternal punishment for the wicked after death, often imagined as being presided over by Satan and his devils.b. A state of separation from God; exclusion from God's presence.
- The abode of the dead in any of various religious traditions, such as the Hebrew Sheol or the Greek Hades; the underworld.
- a. A situation or place of evil, misery, discord, or destruction: “War is hell” ( William Tecumseh Sherman )b. An extremely difficult experience; torment or anguish: went through hell on the job.
- a. The spirits in hell or the powers of evil: All hell could not stop him.b. Informal One that causes trouble, agony, or annoyance: The boss is hell when a job is poorly done.
- A sharp scolding: gave the student hell for cheating.
- a. A tailor's receptacle for discarded material.b. Printing A hellbox.
- Informal a. An outstanding or noteworthy example: You are one hell of a good cook.b. Used as an intensive: How the hell should I know?c. Used for intensive effect in idioms such as beat the hell out of (someone) for beat (someone) very badly.
- Archaic A gambling house.
intransitive verbhelled, hell·ing, hells Informal
Origin of hellMiddle English helle from Old English; see kel-1 in Indo-European roots.Word History: When the Anglo-Saxons became Christian in early medieval times, the Old English word hel was used to translate the Latin word īnfernus, “the lower region, hell,” and designate the fiery place of eternal punishment for the damned. But what did hel designate before the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons? We can discover some indication of the original pagan meaning of hel by examining its Old Norse equivalent, hel. The medieval Scandinavians and Icelanders were converted from paganism much later than the Anglo-Saxons, and they preserved a good deal of pagan poetry revealing the ancient Scandinavian vision of the afterworld. The medieval Icelandic scholar Snorri Sturluson, a Christian, also paints a vivid picture of hel for us in his accounts of Norse myth (although his description may have been influenced by his own Christian conception of hell). The Old Norse hel is the abode of oathbreakers, other evil persons, and those unlucky enough to have died of old age or sickness rather than in the glory of the battlefield. Unlike the typical Christian conception of Hell, the Old Norse hel is very cold. It contrasts sharply with Valhalla, the hall in Asgard where heroes slain in battle carouse with the gods after death. In Old Norse, Hel is also the name of the goddess or giantess who presides in hel. She is the daughter of the god Loki and sister of the enormous wolf that will attack the gods at the end of the world. One half of Hel's body is blue-black, while the other is white. The Indo-European root behind Old English hel and Old Norse hel, as well as their Germanic relatives like German Hölle, “hell,” is *kel-, “to cover, conceal.” In origin, hell is thus the “concealed place.” The root *kel-, also gives us other words for things that cover, conceal, or contain, such as hall, hole, hollow, helmet, and even Valhalla, from Old Norse Valhöll, literally the “Hall ( höll ) of the Slain ( Valr ).”
- (in Abrahamic religions, uncountable): heaven
- (countable, hyperbolic) A place or situation of great suffering in life.
- My new boss is making my job a hell.
- I went through hell to get home today.
- (countable) A place for gambling.
- An extremely hot place.
- You don't have a snowball's chance in hell.
- Used as an intensifier in phrases grammatically requiring a noun
- I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more.
- What the hell is wrong with you?
- He says he's going home early? Like hell he is.
- In certain games of chase, a place to which those who are caught are carried for detention.
- (not polite) Used to express negative discontent.
- Oh, hell! I got another parking ticket.
- (not polite) Used to emphasize
- Hell, yeah!
From Middle English helle, from Old English hel, hell, helle (“nether world, abode of the dead, hell”), from Proto-Germanic *haljō (“nether world, concealed place”), from Proto-Indo-European *kel- (“to cover, conceal, save”). Cognate Dutch hel (“hell”), German Hölle (“hell”), Swedish helvete (“hell”), Icelandic hel (“the abode of the dead, death”). Also related to the Hel of Germanic mythology. See also hele.