Definition of inferno in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪnˈfəːnəʊ/

noun (plural infernos)

1A large fire that is dangerously out of control: the inferno had swept through the city
More example sentences
  • Crews fought the flames for 15 minutes before getting the inferno under control but had to remain at the scene for 90 minutes.
  • We certainly didn't want to turn a fire into an inferno, but we were sitting in a burning jet.
  • A police helicopter also circled the site, sending images of the inferno down to fire crews to help them tackle the blaze.
2 (usually Inferno) Hell (with reference to Dante’s Divine Comedy).
Example sentences
  • As we have already seen, Dante's guide through Inferno or Hell, was the Roman poet and pagan, Virgil.
  • Dante put him in the 9th Circle of Hell in The Inferno because he was the first one to put his own face on the money he produced.
  • This guy appeared among the enchanters in the eighth circle of Hell in Dante's Inferno, so he must have been almighty.
2.1A place or situation that is too hot, chaotic, or noisy: the inferno of the Friday evening rush hour
More example sentences
  • For Xi'an Coy Manh, the explosion was as if she'd suddenly been cast back into the childhood inferno, the terrible war, that consumed her homeland, Vietnam.
  • Never have more than one person working on the same function, or even class if possible, because combining code will become a hellish inferno of terrible pain.


Mid 19th century: from Italian, from Christian Latin infernus (see infernal).

  • In the early 14th century the Italian poet Dante Alighieri wrote The Divine Comedy, describing his journey through hell and purgatory and finally to paradise. The description of hell in particular, the ‘Inferno’, had a lasting impact on the European imagination. The word came to mean ‘hell’ and then ‘any fire raging out of control’. Italian inferno comes from Latin infernus ‘below, subterranean’, which is also the source of infernal (Late Middle English), and is related to inferior (Late Middle English).

Words that rhyme with inferno

Brno, journo, Salerno, Sterno

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: in|ferno

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