Meaning of HELL in English



Pronunciation: ' hel

Function: noun

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old English helan to conceal, Old High German helan, Latin celare, Greek kalyptein

Date: before 12th century

1 a (1) : a nether world in which the dead continue to exist : HADES (2) : the nether realm of the devil and the demons in which the damned suffer everlasting punishment ― often used in curses <go to hell > or as a generalized term of abuse <the hell with it> b Christian Science : ERROR 2B , SIN

2 a : a place or state of misery, torment, or wickedness <war is hell ― W. T. Sherman> b : a place or state of turmoil or destruction <all hell broke loose> c : a severe scolding also : FLAK , GRIEF <gave me hell for coming in late> d : unrestrained fun or sportiveness <the kids were full of hell > ― often used in the phrase for the hell of it especially to suggest action on impulse or without a serious motive <decided to go for the hell of it> e : an extremely unpleasant and often inescapable situation <rush-hour hell >

3 archaic : a tailor's receptacle

4 ― used as an interjection < hell , I don't know!> or as an intensive <hurts like hell > <funny as hell > ― often used in the phrase hell of a <it was one hell of a good fight> or hell out of <scared the hell out of him> or with the or in <moved way the hell up north> <what in hell is wrong, now?>

– from hell : being the worst or most dreadful of its kind

– hell on : very hard on or destructive to <the constant traveling is hell on your digestive system>

– hell or high water : difficulties of whatever kind or size <will stand by her convictions come hell or high water >

– hell to pay : dire consequences <if he's late there'll be hell to pay >

– what the hell

― used interjectionally to express a lack of concern about consequences or risks <it might cost him half his estate ⋯ but what the hell ― N. W. Aldrich b 1935>

Merriam Webster Collegiate English Dictionary.      Merriam Webster - Энциклопедический словарь английского языка.