hella

1 of 2

adverb

slang
: very, extremely
And though she's excited, she's also hella scared. Mimi Valdes, Vibe, October 2002
If you need someone to impress kids with a hella loud motorcycle, great. Kase Wickman, MTV News, 17 June 2015

hella

2 of 2

adjective

slang
: a lot of
You've got to keep in mind that the rematch is more money. They're making hella money now, but the rematch is more money, or even a draw of a good fight is more money. Deontay Wilder, quoted in The Dallas Morning News, 3 May 2015

Word History

Etymology

Adverb

probably contracted from hell of a as an adjectival intensifier (though the shift in syntactic category is unexplained)

Adjective

probably after hella entry 1

Note: Use as a quantifier might suggest that this was the original function of hella, though attestations in this sense are later and less common.

First Known Use

Adverb

1987, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1991, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hella was in 1987

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Dictionary Entries Near hella

Cite this Entry

“Hella.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hella. Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

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