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 itb Christian Science :  error 2b, sin

  2. 2a :  a place or state of misery, torment, or wickedness war is hell — W. T. Shermanb :  a place or state of turmoil or destruction all hell broke loosec :  a severe scolding; also :  flak, grief gave me hell for coming in lated :  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 ite :  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.

Recent Examples of hell from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hell.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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


biographical name \ˈhel\

Definition of Hell

  1. 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. 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.

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to relieve or lessen

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