of, like, or suitable to hell; infernal; vile; horrible: It was a hellish war.
miserable; abominable; execrable: We had a hellish time getting through traffic.
devilishly bad: The child's behavior was hellish most of the day.

Origin of hellish

First recorded in 1520–30; hell + -ish1
Related formshell·ish·ly, adverbhell·ish·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for hellish



of or resembling hell
wicked; cruel
informal very difficult or unpleasant


British informal (intensifier)a hellish good idea
Derived Formshellishly, adverbhellishness, noun
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 hellish

1520s, from hell + -ish. Related: Hellishly; hellishness. Earlier in same sense were helli "helly" (late 12c.); hellen "hellish, infernal" (c.1200), with -en (2); and Old English hellic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper