noun \ˈhel\

Definition of hell

  1. 1a (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. 2a :  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. 3 archaic :  a tailor's receptacle

  4. 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

  1. :  being the worst or most dreadful of its kind <a vacation from hell>

hell on

  1. :  very hard on or destructive to <the constant traveling is hell on your digestive system>

hell or high water

  1. :  difficulties of whatever kind or size <will stand by her convictions come hell or high water>

hell to pay

  1. :  dire consequences <if he's late there'll be hell to pay>

what the hell

  1. —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, from Old English; akin to Old English helan to conceal, Old High German helan, Latin celare, Greek kalyptein

First Known Use: before 12th century


biographical name \ˈhel\

Definition of Hell

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

HELL Defined for English Language Learners


noun \ˈhel\

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. 1 :  a place where evil people are believed in some religions to suffer after death

  2. 2 :  a place or state of misery or wickedness <After the injury, life was hell.>

Learn More about hell

Seen and Heard

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living or existing naturally in a region

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