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.

Nearby words

  1. hellhole,
  2. hellhound,
  3. hellin's law,
  4. hellinger,
  5. hellion,
  6. hellishly,
  7. hellkite,
  8. hellman,
  9. hellman, lillian,
  10. hello

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

Examples from the Web for hellish

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