noun \ ˈhel \

Definition of hell

1 a (1) : a nether world in which the dead continue to exist : hades
(2) : the nether realm of the devil and the demons in which condemned people suffer everlasting punishment often used in curses
  • go to hell
or as a generalized term of abuse
  • the hell with it
b Christian Science : error 2b, sin
2 a : a place or state of misery, torment, or wickedness
  • war is hell
  • —W. T. Sherman
b : a place or state of turmoil or destruction
  • all hell broke loose
c : a severe scolding; also : flak, grief
  • gave me hell for coming in late
d : unrestrained fun or sportiveness
  • the kids were full of hell
often used in the phrase for the hell of it especially to suggest action on impulse or without a serious motive
  • decided to go for the hell of it
e : an extremely unpleasant and often inescapable situation
  • rush-hour hell
3 archaic : a tailor's receptacle
4 used as an interjection
  • hell, I don't know!
or as an intensive
  • hurts like hell
  • funny as hell
often used in the phrase hell of a
  • it was one hell of a good fight
or hell out of
  • scared the hell out of him
or with the or in
  • moved way the hell up north
  • what in hell is wrong, now?
from hell
: being the worst or most dreadful of its kind
  • a vacation from hell
hell on
: very hard on or destructive to
  • the constant traveling is hell on your digestive system
hell or high water
: difficulties of whatever kind or size
  • will stand by her convictions come hell or high water
hell to pay
: dire consequences
  • if he's late there'll be hell to pay
what the hell
used interjectionally to express a lack of concern about consequences or risks
  • it might cost him half his estate … but what the hell
  • —N. W. Aldrich born 1935

Examples of hell in a Sentence

  1. Getting the loan approved was pure hell.

  2. He went through hell during his divorce.

  3. She had to go through hell to get where she is today.

  4. Living with the disease can be a hell on earth.

  5. The pain has made her life a living hell.

Origin and Etymology of hell

Middle English helle, going back to Old English hell, helle, going back to Germanic *haljō (whence also Old Saxon hellia "abode of the dead," Old High German hella, hellia, Old Norse hel "abode of the dead, the death goddess," Gothic halja, translating Greek Háidēs), perhaps from an o-grade nominal derivative of the Germanic verbal base *hel- "cover, hide" — more at conceal
Note: The connection with *hel- "conceal" is traditional in the etymological literature, though given that the literal meaning of *haljō, the mythological abode of the dead, is unknown, it must be regarded as speculative.


biographical name \ ˈhel \

Definition of Hell

Stefan (Walter) 1962–     German (Romanian-born) chemist

HELL Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of hell for English Language Learners

  • : the place where the devil lives and where evil people go after they die according to some religions

  • : a very difficult or unpleasant situation or experience

  • —used to express anger, annoyance, etc.

HELL Defined for Kids


noun \ ˈhel \

Definition of hell for Students

1 : a place where evil people are believed in some religions to suffer after death
2 : a place or state of misery or wickedness
  • After the injury, life was hell.

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