- (used as a mild expression of annoyance, rejection, disgust, etc.): What the heck do you care?
- something remarkable of its kind (usually used in the phrase heck of a): That was a heck of an impressive speech. Have one heck of a good time.
- as heck (used as a mild intensifier): I say he's guilty as heck.
Origin of heck1
First recorded in 1850–55; euphemistic alteration of hell
- a comblike attachment on a loom, for guiding the warp threads as they are dressed for the warp beam.
- a device that guides yarn onto the bobbin of a spinning wheel.
- a gridlike arrangement of glass or metal rods below the hooks on a Jacquard loom, used for lifting all harness eyes equally or evenly.
Origin of heck2
1300–50; Middle English hekke, Old English hecc, variant of hæcc hatch2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for heck
They just reflect the range of breeds that were used to create the Heck cattle in the first instance.‘Nazi Cows’ Tried to Kill British Farmer
January 6, 2015
Washington is a heck of a lot better as a result, and will be for years to come.The Valerie Jarrett I Know: How She Saved the Obama Campaign and Why She’s Indispensable
November 18, 2014
A mixtape dubbed “Montage of Heck” has surfaced on the site Live Nirvana!Kurt Cobain’s Moody 1988 Mixtape: A Wormhole into the Strange Mind of a Rock Legend
November 3, 2014
After what one cop called “a heck of a fuss,” they finally managed to print her.The Mystery Woman Who Tried to Outdo Dillinger
September 29, 2014
Heck, research shows that a little bit of Viagra will even help cut flowers stand up straighter for as long as a week.Why There Will Never Be a Female Viagra
Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S
July 26, 2014
Music and refresh––no, by heck, that sounds too wet and not solid enough.Rim o' the World
B. M. Bower
Heck, she did it in such a way that I couldn't help ogling a bit myself.
At this point I stopped and asked myself what the heck I thought I was trying to do.
Wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwhy where the heck did you come from?Free Air
Like to see Vedrines fly, and the Louvre and the gay grisettes too by heck!The Trail of the Hawk
- a mild exclamation of surprise, irritation, etc
C19: euphemistic for hell
- Northern English dialect a frame for obstructing the passage of fish in a river
C14: variant of hatch ²
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
Word Origin and History for heck
euphemistic alteration of hell, first recorded 1865.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper