[ hel ]
/ hɛl /
the place or state of punishment of the wicked after death; the abode of evil and condemned spirits; Gehenna or Tartarus.
any place or state of torment or misery: They made their father's life a hell on earth.
something that causes torment or misery: Having that cut stitched without anesthesia was hell.
the powers of evil.
the abode of the dead; Sheol or Hades.
extreme disorder or confusion; chaos: The children let both dogs into the house, and all hell broke loose.
Informal. something remarkable of its kind (usually used in the phrase a hell of a or one hell of a): That was one hell of a great game.
a receptacle into which a tailor throws scraps.
Also called hellbox. Printing. a box into which a printer throws discarded type.
the utterance of “hell” in swearing or for emphasis.
the hell, Informal.
- (used as an intensifier to express surprise, anger, impatience, etc., often in the form of a question beginning with a WH-word): Why the hell can't the trains run on time?How the hell am I supposed to finish this by tomorrow?
- (used sarcastically or ironically to express the opposite of what is being stated): Are you listening to me? The hell you are!
(used to express surprise, irritation, disgust, etc.)
hell around, Slang. to live or act in a wild or dissolute manner: All they cared about was drinking and helling around.
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Idioms for hell
- to be unpleasant to or painful for: These shoes are hell on my poor feet.
- to be harmful to: These country roads are hell on tires.
- to see what will happen; for adventure, fun, excitement, etc.: For the hell of it, let's just get on the next bus and see where it takes us.
- with no particular purpose; for no special reason: I called him up for the hell of it, and he offered me a job.
be hell on, Slang.
for the hell of it, Informal.
- with great speed, effort, intensity, etc.: We ran like hell to get home before the storm. She tried like hell to get him to change his mind.
- (used sarcastically or ironically to express the opposite of what is being stated): He says the motor will never break down? Like hell it won't!
- to indulge in wild celebration.
- to create an uproar; object violently to: She'll raise hell when she sees what your rabbit has done to her garden.
get / catch hell, Slang. to suffer a scolding; receive a harsh reprimand: We'll get hell from our parents if we stay out late again.
give someone hell, Informal. to reprimand or reproach severely.
go to hell in a handbasket, Informal. handbasket (def. 2).
hell on wheels, Slang. extremely demanding, fast-paced, aggressive, effective, or the like: The new job is hell on wheels. Our sales staff is hell on wheels when it comes to getting the most out of every account.
like hell, Informal.
play hell with, Slang. to deal recklessly with; bring injury or harm to: Snowstorms played hell with the flow of city traffic.
raise hell, Slang.
the / to hell with, Informal. (used to express dismissal, rejection, contempt, disappointment, or the like): If we have to walk five miles to see the view, the hell with it! He wouldn't even speak to me, so to hell with him!
what the hell, Informal. (used to express lack of concern or worry, indifference, abandonment, surrender, etc.): As long as you're borrowing $100, what the hell, borrow $200.
Origin of hell
before 900; Middle English, Old English hel(l); cognate with Old High German hell(i)a (German Hölle), Old Norse hel,Gothic halja; akin to Old English helan to cover, hide, and to hull2
OTHER WORDS FROM hellhell-like, adjective
Definition for hell (2 of 2)
[ heel; unstressed eel, hil, il ]
/ hil; unstressed il, hɪl, ɪl /
contraction of he will.
usage note for he'll
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for hell (1 of 2)
/ (hɛl) /
Christianity (sometimes capital)
- the place or state of eternal punishment of the wicked after death, with Satan as its ruler
- forces of evil regarded as residing there
(sometimes capital) (in various religions and cultures) the abode of the spirits of the deadSee also Hel, Hades, Sheol
pain, extreme difficulty, etc
informal a cause of such difficulty or sufferingwar is hell
US and Canadian high spirits or mischievousnessthere's hell in that boy
a box used by a tailor for discarded material
rare a gambling house, booth, etc
as hell (intensifier)tired as hell
for the hell of it informal for the fun of it
from hell informal denoting a person or thing that is particularly bad or alarmingneighbour from hell; hangover from hell
give someone hell informal
- to give someone a severe reprimand or punishment
- to be a source of annoyance or torment to someone
hell of a or helluva informal (intensifier)a hell of a good performance
hell for leather at great speed
hell or high water or come hell or high water informal whatever difficulties may arise
hell to pay informal serious consequences, as of a foolish action
like hell informal
- (adverb) (intensifier)he works like hell
- an expression of strong disagreement with a previous statement, request, order, etc
play hell with or play merry hell with informal to throw into confusion and disorder; disrupt
- to create a noisy disturbance, as in fun
- to react strongly and unfavourably
the hell informal
- (intensifier) used in such phrases as what the hell, who the hell, etc
- an expression of strong disagreement or disfavour
informal an exclamation of anger, annoyance, surprise, etc (Also in exclamations such as hell's bells, hell's teeth, etc)
Word Origin for hell
Old English hell; related to helan to cover, Old Norse hel, Gothic halja hell, Old High German hella
British Dictionary definitions for hell (2 of 2)
/ (hiːl, unstressed iːl, hɪl, ɪl) /
he will or he shall
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
Cultural definitions for hell
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Idioms and Phrases with hell
In addition to the idioms beginning with hell
- hell has no fury like a woman scorned
- hell of a
- hell on wheels
- hell or high water, come
- hell to pay
- (all hell) break loose
- devil (hell) of a
- for the hell of it
- give someone hell
- go to hell
- hot as hell
- like a bat out of hell
- like hell
- mad as a hornet (hell)
- not a hope in hell
- raise Cain (hell)
- road to hell is paved with good intentions
- shot to hell
- snowball's chance in hell
- till hell freezes over
- to hell and gone
- to hell with
- what the hell
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.