in·​fer·​no | \ in-ˈfər-(ˌ)nō How to pronounce inferno (audio) \
plural infernos

Definition of inferno

: a place or a state that resembles or suggests hell the inferno of war also : an intense fire : conflagration a raging inferno

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Examples of inferno in a Sentence

By the time help arrived, the fire had grown to a raging inferno. the intense heat of the raging inferno repeatedly drove back the firefighters

Recent Examples on the Web

Both faced charges of involuntary manslaughter for every person killed in the Dec. 2, 2016, inferno. Megan Cassidy,, "Ghost Ship trial: Inside the turbulent jury deliberations that led to dismissals, acquittal, deadlock," 11 Sep. 2019 Around the Pac-12, the pressure’s on … • Clay Helton: The USC coach avoided an inferno when the Trojans fended off Fresno State following a baffling fourth-down decision by Helton. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, "Hotline newsletter: Heat Index debuts, UW’s revenge, UCLA’s empty seats, Ryan Leaf’s journey (and so much more)," 6 Sep. 2019 Tennessee’s Jeremy Pruitt and UCLA’s Chip Kelly are just two games into their second seasons and the hot seat talk already is at inferno levels after 0-2 starts. Matt Murschel,, "10 things we learned during college football Week 2," 1 Sep. 2019 Men too broke to escape a sweaty Latin American village leap at the chance to earn $2,000 apiece driving an emergency shipment of nitroglycerin 300 miles to extinguish an oil inferno for an American company. New York Times, "9 Movies About Work to Watch This Labor Day," 29 Aug. 2019 But by the 1960s the town’s steel and iron factories were closing, and people fled en masse, the city left so polluted that in ’69 the Cuyahoga River turned inferno after debris caught fire, still a source of embarrassment. Ben Baskin,, "Welcome to Cleveland, Where the Browns Are True Contenders," 20 Aug. 2019 The Sierra Nevada’s mountainous terrain and dry, Mediterranean climate make controlling even a planned fire challenging, and a century’s worth of fire suppression had left forests so flammable that the smallest spark might trigger an inferno. Nicola Twilley, The New Yorker, "A Trailblazing Plan to Fight California Wildfires," 19 Aug. 2019 The local Congress moved to action after an infamous inferno engulfed the tiny heartland town of Spencer in 1931, destroying 80 businesses and racking up $2 million in damage. Luke Winkie, Vox, "Anime brings in more than $19 billion a year. Its artists are earning barely enough to survive.," 2 July 2019 Because fire season has becomes less predictable and more complex — driven by climate change and increasing human development in areas prone to burn — staying ready for an inferno has become a year-round occupation., "Oregon’s wildfire season is off to a slow start, but crews sit ready and waiting," 24 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inferno.' 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 inferno

1834, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for inferno

Italian, hell, from Late Latin infernus

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Statistics for inferno

Last Updated

18 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for inferno

The first known use of inferno was in 1834

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More Definitions for inferno



English Language Learners Definition of inferno

: a very large and dangerous fire

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More from Merriam-Webster on inferno

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inferno

Spanish Central: Translation of inferno

Nglish: Translation of inferno for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inferno for Arabic Speakers

Comments on inferno

What made you want to look up inferno? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to spread over or through

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