[ hel ]
/ hɛl /



(used to express surprise, irritation, disgust, etc.)

Verb Phrases

hell around, Slang. to live or act in a wild or dissolute manner: All they cared about was drinking and helling around.

Nearby words

  1. helium,
  2. helium flash,
  3. helium i,
  4. helium ii,
  5. helix,
  6. hell gate,
  7. hell has no fury like a woman scorned,
  8. hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,
  9. hell of a,
  10. hell on wheels


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

Related formshell-like, adjective


[ heel; unstressed eel, hil, il ]
/ hil; unstressed il, hɪl, ɪl /

contraction of he will.
Can be confusedheal heel he'll

Usage note

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hell

British Dictionary definitions for hell


/ (hɛl) /



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


/ (hiːl, unstressed iːl, hɪl, ɪl) /

contraction of

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

Word Origin and History for hell


Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for hell


The dwelling place of Satan, devils, and wicked souls condemned to eternal punishment after death; a place of pain and torment. (Compare heaven.)

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

also see:

  • (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.