in·​fer·​no in-ˈfər-(ˌ)nō How to pronounce inferno (audio)
plural infernos
: a place or a state that resembles or suggests hell
the inferno of war
also : an intense fire : conflagration
a raging inferno

Example Sentences

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 As Salles drives past a roadside inferno early one morning, that prospect seems even closer. John Muyskens, Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2022 In moments, with the help of the cotton balls and a match, the pile became a miniature inferno, warming the tips of my frozen fingers. Steve Meyer, Anchorage Daily News, 12 Nov. 2022 Ryan Sawyer Mays was charged with aggravated arson and willfully hazarding a vessel after a four-day inferno in July 2020 relegated the costly USS Bonhomme Richard to a scrap yard in Texas. Matt Seyler, ABC News, 1 Oct. 2022 Some encampment fires have turned deadly, like a February inferno at an encampment under a San Francisco I-280 on-ramp. Lauren Hepler, San Francisco Chronicle, 30 Aug. 2022 How they’re twisted into existence and then sent into a fiery inferno where they are browned and released into the wide world only to be eaten. Laurie Ochoa, Los Angeles Times, 30 July 2022 Sure, there had been forest fires in France all week, and Australia and California seem to spend half the year ablaze these days -- but Wennington in east London (where a sudden inferno consumed a row of terraced houses)? Richard Galant, CNN, 24 July 2022 The acrid smell of smoke still filled the air almost two days after a Sugar House development became an inferno late Tuesday and fire crews ultimately decided to demolish part of the structure. Kolbie Peterson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 27 Oct. 2022 Like animals fleeing an inferno, workers in all sectors of the industry shifted gears and career tracks (some of them permanently). Globe Staff,, 12 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


Italian, hell, from Late Latin infernus

First Known Use

1834, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of inferno was in 1834

Dictionary Entries Near inferno

Cite this Entry

“Inferno.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition



in·​fer·​no in-ˈfər-nō How to pronounce inferno (audio)
plural infernos
: a place or state that resembles or suggests hell especially in great heat or raging fire

More from Merriam-Webster on inferno

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