1 (often Hell) A place regarded in various religions as a spiritual realm of evil and suffering, often traditionally depicted as a place of perpetual fire beneath the earth where the wicked are punished after death: irreligious children were assumed to have passed straight to the eternal fires of hell
More example sentences
- In that explanation, the hell realm was in the depths of the earth.
- We must always remember that the purifying fires of heaven are hotter than the fires of hell.
- Do you want reliable answers concerning issues like life, forgiveness, death, heaven or hell?
the netherworld, the land/abode of the dead, the infernal regions, the Inferno, the nether regions, the abyss; the abode of the damned, eternal damnation, eternal punishment, perdition; hellfire, fire and brimstone; BiblicalGehenna, Tophet, Abaddon; JudaismSheol; Greek MythologyHades, Tartarus, Acheron; Roman MythologyAvernus; Scandinavian MythologyNiflheim
literary the pit, the shades
archaic the lower world
1.1A situation, experience, or place of great suffering: I’ve been through hell he made her life hell
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- A callous dog owner has escaped going to jail after making his pet's life a living hell of prolonged torment.
- It truly has been the closest thing to a living hell that I've ever experienced.
- The stories from those inside haunts anyone who hears them, and this is perhaps the closest thing to a living hell.
exclamation(also the hell) Back to top
Used for emphasis or to express anger, contempt, or surprise: oh, hell—where will this all end? who the hell are you?
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- We don't even mind that you came up with the next new year first; hell, we're used to it.
- I suppose it hurt because, hell, no girl likes having another girl picked over her.
- Japan is actually bigger than the UK, bigger than Italy - hell, it's even bigger than Germany.
Old English hel, hell, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hel and German Hölle, from an Indo-European root meaning 'to cover or hide'.
all hell breaks (or is let) loose
- informal Suddenly there is pandemonium: the police arrived one night and all hell broke looseMore example sentences
- Suddenly all hell broke loose and everybody dived for cover.… It was only later that the man's story emerged.
- Suddenly, all hell broke loose and a couple of compartments were set on fire.
- Suddenly all hell broke loose as one of the suspects struggled free, grabbed a knife and attacked an unarmed officer.
(as) —— as hell
- informal Used for emphasis: he’s as guilty as hellMore example sentences
- I'm still out here, running free and as guilty as hell.
- He looks as guilty as hell and I realise we would be denying cruel destiny if I did not now make it my business to find out what he thinks he is guilty of.
- And with that he left the room, leaving Craig feeling as guilty as hell for something he doesn't remember doing.
be hell on
- informal Be very unpleasant or harmful to: the fungus is hell on grasshoppersMore example sentences
- We're in one of those no-fun-news cycles, which is hell on a guy who likes a happy cocktail with his evening reading.
- Going through old blog stuff is hell on the brain.
- Going back to Standard Time is hell on us nightowls.
come hell or high water
- Whatever difficulties may occur: come hell or high water, cooking three meals a day is a mighty taskMore example sentences
- Once a good design solution is found that totally suits the product, it is stuck with consistently come hell or high water, like a good piece of product design that you know just doesn't need any more tinkering with.
- Montreal merchants, worried that the newly-opened Erie Canal will sap business to New York, decide to build a canal of their own come hell or high water.
- Like my long-suffering employee, I want my money to be in my bank account come hell or high water with all the deductions already made, all the expenses already claimed and I don't want to have to fill in any more forms about it.
for the hell of it
- informal Just for fun: she walked on window ledges for the hell of itMore example sentences
- Request a matching waistcoat just for the hell of it.
- Eventually I'll review all the movies I've seen, just for the hell of it.
- If you read the small print on their extremely lengthy content guidelines they basically add a clause that says they can simply delete a site if they feel like doing so, just for the hell of it!
—— from hell
- informal An extremely unpleasant or troublesome example of something: neighbours from hellMore example sentences
- The torment imposed by neighbours from hell can go on for years.
- You could be caught on camera when a mobile CCTV unit takes to Southend's streets to snoop on neighbours from hell.
- An innovative help group for residents whose lives are blighted by neighbours from hell will be piloted in two York areas.
- informal Be severely reprimanded: she got hell on the way homeMore example sentences
be severely reprimanded, be upbraided, be scolded, get a scolding, be admonished, be castigated, be rebuked, be chastised, be censured, be criticized severely, be taken to task, get into trouble, be hauled over the coalsinformal catch it, get what for, be told off, get into hot/deep water, get into shtook, get a dressing-down, get an earful, get a roasting, get a rocket, get a rollicking, get a rap over the knuckles, get a slap on the wrist
- Of course, nothing is sweeter to a kid than imagining their parent getting hell from some other bigger older parent.
- I get hell when I get home: ‘These stains will NEVER come out.’
- Or just about anything, because trying to spare the person that I'm seeing or involved with at that time because it seems to be a lot of - I mean, he's probably going to get hell if he went home, if he said the truth and went home.
give someone hell
- informal Severely reprimand or make things very unpleasant for someone: I gave him hellMore example sentences
reprimand severely, rebuke, admonish, chastise, chide, upbraid, reprove, reproach, scold, remonstrate with, berate, take to task, pull up, castigate, lambaste, read someone the Riot Act, give someone a piece of one's mind, haul over the coals, lecture, criticize, censureinformal tell off, give someone a talking-to, give someone a telling-off, dress down, give someone a dressing-down, give someone an earful, give someone a roasting, give someone a rocket, give someone a rollicking, rap, rap over the knuckles, slap someone's wrist, send someone away with a flea in their ear, let someone have it, bawl out, come down hard on, blow up, pitch into, lay into, lace into, give someone a caning, blast, rag, keelhaulBritish informal tick off, have a go at, carpet, give someone a mouthful, tear someone off a strip, give someone what for, give someone some stick, wig, give someone a wiggingAustralian informal monsterharass, hound, plague, badger, harry, pester, bother, worry, annoy, trouble, bully, intimidate, pick on, bait, molest, bedevil, victimize, terrorize; North AmericandevilAustralian informal heavy
- I'm looking forward to going over there and giving them hell.
- All I do is to tell them the truth, and that hurts a lot worse than giving them hell.
- He has got to have oxygen because his lungs are giving him hell.
go to hell
- informal Used to express angry rejection of someone or something: you can go to hellMore example sentences
- He told the judge to go to hell, declared he won't be coming back and complained once again about life as a detainee.
- My feelings can go to hell; I'm assured that the rest of me is going there anyway.
- Whosoever is offended by its statements must pack and go to hell!
go to (or through) hell and back
- Endure an extremely unpleasant or difficult experience: he’s been to hell and back since he was publicly blamed for Saturday’s home defeatMore example sentences
- You went to hell and back out there… I have no idea what your strategy was.
- I went to hell and back, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
- ‘I was so young, and I felt like I'd just gone to hell and back,’ he said.
go to hell in a handbasket
- North American informal Deteriorate rapidly: the world is going to hell in a handbasketMore example sentences
- Signs of a global recession inevitably conjure up thoughts of the last time the whole world went to hell in a handbasket: the Great Depression of the 1930s.
- I usually have little sympathy with claims that the culture is going to hell in a handbasket, but after seeing those numbers, I instinctively concluded, ‘the culture is going to hell in a handbasket.’
- You know all the Democrats are going to hell in a handbasket.
hell for leather
- As fast as possible: I tore hell for leather out of my garageMore example sentences
as fast as possible, as quickly as possible, very fast, very quickly, very rapidly, very speedily, very swiftly, hurriedly, at full speed, at the double, at full tilt, at full pelt, headlong, hotfoot, post-haste, pell-mell, helter-skelter, at the speed of light, at breakneck speed, like an arrow from a bowinformal like a bat out of hell, at a lick, like the wind, like greased lightning, at warp speed, like a bomb, like mad, like crazy, like blazesNorth American informal lickety-split
- People are going to be up there going hell for leather.
- You are left with two choices - either you let it drift, and risk losing control over the argument, or you go hell for leather and actively push it forward.
- But we are going hell for leather to govern by ourselves.
- informal An exclamation of annoyance or anger: Hell’s bells, Don, you’re being unreasonableMore example sentences
- But hell's bells, look at it again!
- This is not to say that I'm the most current human being on the face of the earth - hell's bells, I'm in my 70s.
- Hell's bells, what a huge show this turned out to be.
hell hath no fury like a woman scorned
- proverb A woman who has been rejected by a man can be ferociously angry and vindictive.More example sentences
- Another recipient, who also wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘On the basis that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, we can only guess the author must suspect her husband is being unfaithful and is very bitter.’
- They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and, as Susan Flockhart discovered, cyberspace has become the preferred instrument of revenge
- It's been said that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, so just imagine what kind of trouble you could find from an angry god.
a (or one) hell of a ——
- informal Used to emphasize something very bad or great: the car cost a hell of a lot of moneyMore example sentences
- It will take time and effort and money too, though a hell of a lot less than buying one legally.
- I am by no means a businesswoman, but I'm pretty sure you need one hell of a lot of money to open a station.
- It doesn't seem like it now, but it was a hell of a lot of money back then.
—— the hell out of
- informal Used in verbal phrases to emphasize force, speed, etc. let’s get the hell out of hereMore example sentences
- If you want a car that scares the hell out of little old men and woman this is it.
- Jim can change from sensitive man to monster at the flick of a subconscious switch, and it scares the hell out of Mike.
- As a tourist, quite often getting a ride on a scooter, or moto, was the only way to get around and they scared the hell out of me.
like hell informal
- All I know is that my mouth hurts like hell and I've about as much chance of getting in to see my dentist this week as I have getting into a size 10 dress.
- I didn't really think about it much as I grew up, unless I bashed my hand against something then the tiny scar hurt like hell.
- Either way, it hurts like hell on my right side when I breathe in.
- Like hell he was going to let her win this easily, he thought angrily.
- Yeah, like hell it is.
- "Like hell you are," I tell him.
not a hope in hell
- see hope.More example sentences
- In my view they have not a hope in hell's chance of winning back power without a radical agenda.
- There is not a hope in hell of a review of the speed limits at present.
- It doesn't matter that there's not a hope in hell of the stereo ever being loud enough: driving this is fun.
play hell (or merry hell) British informal
- Create havoc: the kids play merry hell until she tells them to go to bed at onceMore example sentences
- Trouble was, it never got done, until the doctor himself arrived and played merry hell because I hadn't been given anything to eat or drink for almost 2 days.
- Also, there was one weapon the enemy surprised us with in this campaign, and they played hell with us.
- We caught up with her as she was driving home from a three hour trip along a mountainous Oregon highway that played hell with the cell-phone connection.
- Cause damage: the rough road played hell with the tyresMore example sentences
- Of course, sand does play hell on your kit, but I don't really think that's the point the LA Times was trying to get across.
- It plays hell with your social life.
- Sometimes I think these people would be annoyed if Jesus did return, because it would play hell with their fundraising.
the road to hell is paved with good intentions
- proverb Promises and plans must be put into action, otherwise they are useless.More example sentences
- Unfortunately, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
- To sum it up, the road to hell is paved with good intentions (of which the peace movement has many) but a lack of action now condemns people to life in its earthly equivalent.
- And, of course, the road to hell is paved with good intentions…
there will be hell to pay
- informal Serious trouble will occur as a result of a previous or proposed action: when I got it wrong, there would be hell to payMore example sentences
- But when they cross the wrong guy, there will be hell to pay.
- If work does not commence on the proposed sewerage scheme for the town within one month there will be hell to pay.
- If she gets out of line and doesn't heed their first warning, then they promised there will be hell to pay for strike two!
- Used for emphasis: damn it to hellMore example sentences
- She hoped to hell that Thomas would ask her if she would help him.
- I have never seen him like that before, and I hope to hell that I never have to again.
- She just had to keep talking to him, and hope to hell that the ambulance would get here soon.
to hell with
- informal Expressing one’s scorn or lack of concern for (someone or something).More example sentences
- To hell with quality, to hell with life, to hell with savoring the moment.
- We should have stuck to our guns, people tell me, and to hell with Liverpool and to hell with the Tory leadership.
- These characters have a tendency to pass moral judgments based on their beliefs, and to hell with what anyone else thinks.
until (or till) hell freezes over
- Forever: they will have to wait until hell freezes overMore example sentences
- ‘I am prepared to wait for my answer until hell freezes over,’ Stevenson says.
- At this time any informed Canberra observer knows that we will be waiting until hell freezes over.
- Clarke responded, ‘Well, they'll say that until hell freezes over.’
what the hell
- informal It doesn’t matter: you’re already going to be home late, so what the hellMore example sentences
- I'm sure more blogs will comment on this before long, but what the hell, I'm still going to.
- You're already going to be home late, so what the hell, take it easy, give your weary eyes and brain a break.
- My life is really too shallow and boring for a blog but what the hell, nobody actually had to read it.
1Very fast, much, hard, etc. (used for emphasis): my head hurts like hell
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2Used in ironic expressions of scorn or disagreement: like hell, he thought
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- More example sentences
- Is the world hurtling hellward even faster than usual, or is it just me?
- They are represented as performing the hellward journey on, as we infer, benevolent missions.
- Leaving means the chaos and carnage spiral ever faster hellward.