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[gi-hen-uh] /gɪˈhɛn ə/
the valley of Hinnom, near Jerusalem, where propitiatory sacrifices were made to Moloch. II Kings 23:10.
hell (def 1).
any place of extreme torment or suffering.
Origin of Gehenna
< Late Latin < Greek Géenna < Hebrew Gē-Hinnōm hell, short for gē ben Hinnōm literally, valley of the son of Hinnom Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Gehenna
Historical Examples
  • Why, then, was Sam Marlowe visiting this ozone-swept Gehenna?

    The Girl on the Boat Pelham Grenville Wodehouse
  • Gehenna, I don't even know what I'd do, if I'd gotten myself into a mess like that.

    Space Viking Henry Beam Piper
  • There'd be a Gehenna of a bill to pay when they started decelerating.

    Space Viking Henry Beam Piper
  • Gehenna is beneath the lowest part of the earth and the seas of darkness.

    Modern Persia Mooshie G. Daniel
  • Such a swash of offal as I caught couldn't be found in Gehenna.

    A King of Tyre James M. Ludlow
  • The Gehenna has turned into a Vale of Sharon full of lilies, lilacs, and acacias.

    The Inferno August Strindberg
  • “The fires of Pentecost will not rest where the fires of Gehenna are working” (Plummer).

  • Paradise is for the souls of the righteous, Gehenna for the souls of the wicked.

    Stories and Pictures Isaac Loeb Peretz
  • War made the South an Aceldama; reconstruction made it a Gehenna.

  • "Thou deservest I should let thee burn in the lowest Gehenna," she cried.

    Ghetto Tragedies Israel Zangwill
British Dictionary definitions for Gehenna


(Old Testament) the valley below Jerusalem, where children were sacrificed and where idolatry was practised (II Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 19:6) and where later offal and refuse were slowly burned
(New Testament, Judaism) a place where the wicked are punished after death
a place or state of pain and torment
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin, from Greek Geena, from Hebrew Gê' Hinnōm, literally: valley of Hinnom, symbolic of hell
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Gehenna



"hell," 1620s, from Church Latin, from Greek geenna, from post-biblical Hebrew gehinnom, "Hell, place of fiery torment for the dead," figurative use of the place name Ge Hinnom "the Valley of Hinnom," southwest of Jerusalem, where, according to Jer. xix.5, children were sacrificed to Moloch.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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