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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for inferno
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • So, she went through the inferno of days and nights in a dreariness of suffering that was deadly.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • We stood now on the rim of the crater, looking straight into the inferno.

    The Underdog F. Hopkinson Smith
  • And here, in this inferno of luggage, was White Fang deserted by the master.

    White Fang Jack London
  • It was an inferno of shifting lights and long leaping shadows.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • What stories they had to tell of the inferno they had come from!

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 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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