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[in-fur-noh; for 3 also Italian een-fer-naw] /ɪnˈfɜr noʊ; for 3 also Italian inˈfɛr nɔ/
noun, plural infernos.
hell; the infernal regions.
a place or region that resembles hell:
The ironworks was an inferno of molten steel and half-naked bodies.
(initial capital letter, italics) the first part of Dante's Divine Comedy, depicting hell and the suffering of the damned.
Compare paradise (def 7), purgatory (def 2).
Origin of inferno
1825-35; < Italian < Late Latin infernus hell, noun use of Latin infernus; see infernal
2. furnace, hellhole, oven. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for inferno
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • At twelve-ten plus forty-five seconds, he and his platoon were to "go over the top" and plunge into the inferno of No Man's Land.

    Time Telling through the Ages Harry Chase Brearley
  • In the 'inferno' I could never get head or tail of the topography.

    The Daughter of a Magnate Frank H. Spearman
  • During all the summer and fall of 1976 China was an inferno.

  • Excuse me, it is the inferno: and they tell to the priest ‘Please come.’

    Diversions in Sicily H. Festing Jones
  • The approximate date of the next play, the Auto da Barca do inferno, is certain.

British Dictionary definitions for inferno


noun (pl) -nos
(sometimes capital) the inferno, hell; the infernal region
any place or state resembling hell, esp a conflagration
Word Origin
C19: from Italian, from Late Latin infernus 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 inferno

1834, from Italian inferno, from Latin infernus (see infernal).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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inferno in Culture

Inferno definition

The first section of The Divine Comedy, by Dante. Inferno is the Italian word for “hell.”

Note: By extension, an “inferno” is a hot and terrible place or condition.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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