hell·​ish | \ ˈhe-lish How to pronounce hellish (audio) \

Definition of hellish

: of, resembling, or befitting hell broadly : terrible

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Other Words from hellish

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 The Handmaid’s Tale, based on Margaret Atwood’s beloved speculative novel, has kept its hero, June, stuck in the hellish patriarchal theocracy of Gilead for three seasons now, her attempts at escape repeatedly thwarted with diminishing returns. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "Made for Love, Handmaid’s Tale, and the Trap of Dystopian TV," 4 May 2021 By contrast, to be young in 2020 was—for most American teenagers—rather hellish. Niall Ferguson, WSJ, "How a More Resilient America Beat a Midcentury Pandemic," 30 Apr. 2021 Spring is here literally, but also figuratively after a hellish 13 months, with vaccinations underway and the end of the pandemic more tangible than ever. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Eight top Milwaukee songs and albums for May: Trixie Mattel, WebsterX, Big Mother Gig, Coach Flambeau and more," 30 Apr. 2021 Oh, and there’s a hellish shadow sea filled with killer flying monsters. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "You Have 6 New Netflix Treats To Binge This Weekend — Here’s What’s Worth Watching," 23 Apr. 2021 Such soul-deadening behavior has hellish organizational consequences: productivity erodes, employees become alienated and unhappy, and so on. Chris Lowney, Forbes, "Treachery, Trust, And Courage: How To Avoid Organizational Hell," 20 Apr. 2021 HOAs were created, as are most hellish things, with the best of intentions. Kris Frieswick, WSJ, "Joining an HOA? There Will Be Hell to Pay," 15 Apr. 2021 The cycle keeps going, like some type of hellish Groundhog Day. Mike Freeman, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Real cancel culture isn't moving MLB All-Star Game, it's the erasing of Black lives," 13 Apr. 2021 Before one of the longest lockdowns in the world, millions in this congested Philippine capital region suffered a hellish daily commute. Washington Post, "Filipinos are cycling their way through the pandemic," 31 Mar. 2021

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

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First Known Use of hellish

circa 1530, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for hellish

Time Traveler

The first known use of hellish was circa 1530

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Statistics for hellish

Last Updated

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hellish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hellish. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for hellish



English Language Learners Definition of hellish

: very bad, unpleasant, or shocking


hell·​ish | \ ˈhe-lish How to pronounce hellish (audio) \

Kids Definition of hellish

: extremely bad hellish violence

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