a place totally lacking in comfort, cleanliness, order, etc.
a place or establishment noted for its illegal or immoral practices.

Origin of hellhole

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at hell, hole
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hellhole

Contemporary Examples of hellhole

  • They'd tell you immediately that we need security around our ambassador in a hellhole like Benghazi.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Don't Blame Gay Men for Benghazi

    David Frum

    October 19, 2012

  • “This place was a hellhole,” says Akram Mohamed Ramadan, a rebel fighter who came to visit the prison on Friday.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Return to Tripoli’s Notorious Jail

    Babak Dehghanpisheh

    August 28, 2011

  • From these headquarters, Maria Leon and her family had turned the neighborhood into a hellhole.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Gangster Matriarch of L.A.

    Christine Pelisek

    September 13, 2010

  • At least I could comfort myself with the thought that the mom and kid got out of that hellhole alive.

    The Daily Beast logo
    My Disney Cruise from Hell

    Laura Bennett

    April 9, 2010

Historical Examples of hellhole

  • But near the Mammoth Hot Springs is a hellhole that did attract me.

    Wild Animals at Home

    Ernest Thompson Seton

  • The flag which floats over every hellhole of mine and mill and prison?

    The Red Conspiracy

    Joseph J. Mereto

British Dictionary definitions for hellhole



an unpleasant or evil place
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 hellhole

"the pit of Hell," late 14c., from hell + hole (n.). Meaning "unpleasant place" is from 1866.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper