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 on the WebHowever, his message of inclusion and his denial of hell has become a model, and his impact in gospel music continues to inspire new generations of artists.—Meagan Jordan, Rolling Stone, 23 Nov. 2023 This is her name for the seventh circle of hell from Dante’s Inferno, where the souls of those who’ve committed suicide become trees, and harpies peck at them for all eternity.—Sara Holdren, Vulture, 21 Nov. 2023 Yes, in that vortex of traffic hell that expands and contracts like a squeezebox between those magical congestion hours of 7 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m.—Lucas Kwan Peterson, Los Angeles Times, 10 Nov. 2023 If divorce tends to be hell, divorce in a foreign country with a child involved is the ninth circle, particularly when your partner plays the one card that will never be in your hand.—Caitlin Gunther, Condé Nast Traveler, 2 Nov. 2023 In Dante Alighieri's Inferno, Satan is described with bat wings that freeze hell over with a simple flap of the wings.—Elizabeth Gamillo, Discover Magazine, 31 Oct. 2023 As one scientist told me, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.—Soumya Karlamangla, New York Times, 31 Oct. 2023 Good pals, make good on their promise to rock your face off!
Darker Circles, The Sadies
So much beauty and sadness in country-psych-reverb-spider webs of heaven and hell.—Liza Lentini, SPIN, 27 Oct. 2023 So, the next time someone gives you hell for rocking socks and sandals?—Christian Allaire, Vogue, 2 Nov. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hell.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
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
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.
First Known Use
before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)
The first known use of hell was
before the 12th century