hell·​ish ˈhe-lish How to pronounce hellish (audio)
: of, resembling, or befitting hell
broadly : terrible
hellishly adverb
hellishness noun

Examples of hellish in a Sentence

We've been having hellish weather lately. The battlefield was a hellish scene of death and destruction.
Recent Examples on the Web Meanwhile, Dawn’s performance in the Museum of Modern Fart fell short of the judges’ high expectations, while Morphine Love Dion couldn’t find her spark in her her hellish commode. Stephen Daw, Billboard, 26 Mar. 2024 The process of applying to city’s public high schools is hellish, and last year was one of the deadliest on record for cyclists, to cite just two examples. Ginia Bellafante, New York Times, 14 Mar. 2024 The hellish image of burning rivers helped motivate the signing of the Clean Air and Clean Water acts, as well as the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Paul Draus, The Conversation, 1 Mar. 2024 Those scenes, set in a hellish war zone ruled by sadistic thugs, are gruesome in their depiction of what joining ISIS means for naïve boys like Mehdi and Amine. Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Feb. 2024 After all, everyone’s commute was as hellish as this, right? Radhika Seth, Vogue, 20 Feb. 2024 Odesa, a vibrant port nestled alongside the Black Sea in southwest Ukraine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its contributions to cinema, literature and the arts, had been thrust into the hellish fire of war. Bryce Miller, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Feb. 2024 Harvey Keitel plays an Auschwitz survivor who recalls the demons of his past and falling in love in a hellish Nazi death camp in the trailer for The Tattooist of Auschwitz, the Peacock and Sky limited series that unveiled a trailer on Thursday. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Feb. 2024 In 2011, county transportation officials heralded a widening project that would make driving less hellish through the infamous Sepulveda Pass. Ryan Fonseca, Los Angeles Times, 7 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hellish.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1530, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hellish was circa 1530

Dictionary Entries Near hellish

Cite this Entry

“Hellish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hellish. Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


hell·​ish ˈhel-ish How to pronounce hellish (audio)
: of, resembling, or suitable to hell : infernal
hellishly adverb
hellishness noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!