Meaning of HELL in English


I. hell 1 S1 W3 /hel/ BrE AmE noun

[ Language: Old English ]

1 . WHEN YOU DIE [uncountable] ( also Hell ) the place where the souls of bad people are believed to be punished after death, especially in the Christian and Muslim religions

2 . SUFFERING [singular, uncountable] a place or situation in which people suffer very much, either physically or emotionally:

War is hell.

My mother made my life hell.

These past few days have been a living hell.

She must have gone through hell every day, the way we teased her about her weight.

pure/absolute/sheer etc hell

They described the war zone as sheer hell.

He says his time in jail was hell on earth.

3 . UNPLEASANT SITUATION [singular, uncountable] informal a situation, experience, or place that is very unpleasant:

The traffic was hell this morning.

pure/absolute/sheer etc hell

‘How was your exam?’ ‘Sheer hell!’

4 . what/how/why/where etc the hell? spoken not polite used to show that you are very surprised or angry:

How the hell are we going to do that?

5 . a/one hell of a something spoken not polite used to emphasize the idea that something is very big, very good, very bad etc:

I’ve come one hell of a long way to get here.

Envy like yours is a hell of a good motive for murder.

6 . go to hell! spoken not polite used when you are very angry with someone:

If John doesn’t like it, he can go to hell!

7 . feel/look like hell spoken not polite to feel or look very ill or tired:

I’ve been feeling like hell all week.

8 . beat/surprise/scare the hell out of somebody informal not polite to beat, surprise etc someone very much:

We have only one aim: to beat the hell out of the opposition.

9 . (just) for the hell of it spoken not polite for no serious reason, or only for fun:

They shot people just for the hell of it.

10 . what the hell! spoken not polite used to say that you will do something and not worry about any problems it causes:

Elaine poured herself a large glass of whisky – what the hell, it was Christmas.

11 . to hell with somebody/something spoken not polite used to say that you do not care about someone or something any more:

I want to live for the present, and to hell with the consequences.

12 . run/hurt/fight etc like hell informal not polite to run, fight etc very quickly or very much:

My new shoes hurt like hell.

13 . like hell/the hell spoken not polite used to say that you do not agree with what someone has said:

‘You keep out of this, Ma.’ ‘Like hell I will.’

14 . the something/somebody from hell informal not polite something or someone that is the worst you can imagine:

She was the flatmate from hell.

It was the holiday from hell.

15 . guilty/shy/mad/angry etc as hell spoken not polite very guilty, shy etc:

If I had your problems, I’d be mad as hell.

16 . sure as hell spoken not polite used to emphasize that something is true:

I don’t scare easily, but I was sure as hell scared.

17 . give somebody hell informal not polite to treat someone in an unpleasant or angry way:

She didn’t like him, and gave him hell at the slightest opportunity.

18 . get the hell out (of somewhere) informal not polite to leave a place quickly and suddenly:

Let’s get the hell out of here!

19 . there’ll be hell to pay spoken not polite used to say that people will be very angry:

If they find us there’ll be hell to pay.

20 . go to hell and back to go through a very difficult situation:

I’d go to hell and back for that boy.

21 . all hell broke loose informal not polite used to say that people suddenly become very noisy or angry:

Journalists woke him with the news and all hell broke loose.

22 . come hell or high water informal not polite in spite of any problems or difficulties:

I decided I would get the job done by Friday, come hell or high water.

23 . go to hell in a handbasket American English informal not polite if a system or organization has gone to hell in a handbasket, it has stopped working well and is now working very badly:

The education system in this country has gone to hell in a handbasket.

24 . hell’s bells ( also hell’s teeth British English ) spoken old-fashioned used to express great annoyance or surprise

25 . play (merry) hell with something British English informal to make something stop working or happening as it should:

The cold weather played hell with the weekend sports schedule.

26 . raise hell informal not polite to protest strongly and angrily about a situation

27 . run/go hell for leather informal not polite to run as fast as possible

28 . hell on wheels American English informal not polite someone who does exactly what they want and does not care what happens as a result.

29 . when hell freezes over informal not polite used to say that something will never happen

30 . catch hell American English spoken not polite to be blamed or punished:

You’ll catch hell when your Mom comes home!

⇨ not a hope in hell (of doing something) at ↑ hope 2 (3)

II. hell 2 BrE AmE interjection not polite

1 . used to express anger or annoyance:

Oh hell! I’ve left my purse at home.

2 . used to emphasize a statement:

Well, hell, I don’t know!

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.