Definition of hell
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
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 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?
: being the worst or most dreadful of its kind a vacation from hell
: 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
Examples of hell in a Sentence
Getting the loan approved was pure hell.
He went through hell during his divorce.
She had to go through hell to get where she is today.
Living with the disease can be a hell on earth.
The pain has made her life a living hell.
Recent Examples of hell from the Web
The silver-plated collection, which consists of a pebble pendant necklace, jointed choker, pendulum earrings, tile rings and a bangle bracelet, is modern as hell.
The main gate of Walt Disney World is only minutes away, placing it directly in the center of the seventh circle of chain restaurant hell.
The editorial seemed to say, the hell with that, what about right-wing hatred?
The species may stop reproducing, but who the hell cares.
The rash was so bad it could only have been invented in hell.
You could be forgiven for thinking that the car industry is hell bent on proving the American author's theory.
The easily flowing folk tunes interrupted with offset rhythms and discomforting harmonies quickly rising to a hell-raising chaos.
Harper was ushered out to the dugout by teammate Ryan Zimmerman, who was in the on-deck circle when all hell broke loose.
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
First Known Use: before 12th centurySee Words from the same year
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
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.
Seen and Heard
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