Meaning of HELL in English


I. ˈhel noun

( -s )

Usage: often attributive

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old English helan to conceal, Old High German hella hell, helan to conceal, Old Norse hel heathen realm of the dead, Gothic halja hell, Latin celare to hide, conceal, Greek kalyptein to cover, conceal, Sanskrit śaraṇa screening, protecting; basic meaning: concealing


a. : a place or state of the dead or of the damned: as

(1) : a place usually under the ground in which the dead continue to exist : netherworld , hades , sheol

I will slay the last of them with the sword … though they dig into hell — Amos 9:1-2 (Authorized Version)

spake of the resurrection of Christ that his soul was not left in hell — Acts 2:31 (Authorized Version)

— compare limbo

(2) : a netherworld in which the damned must suffer everlasting punishment (as by fire) and malevolent beings live under the rule of the devil — called also Gehenna ; compare purgatory

(3) : a spiritual state of lasting separation from God or of complete isolation : eternal death


(1) : a nether domain of the devil and the demons

(2) : the fallen angels headed by Satan : the devil and the demons of hell : the powers of evil

c. Christian Science : error 2b, sin


a. : a place or state of misery, torment, or wickedness

hundreds of gallons of spilled gasoline turn the … wreckage into a concentrated hell of searing flames — H.G.Armstrong

condemned to go through the hell of war — F.L.Allen

— used interjectionally to express irritation, irony, incredulity, or surprise

oh hell

expert, hell ! — he's no more an expert than I am

— often used as a generalized term of abuse

go to hell

or as a mild oath

to hell with it

or as an intensive

hell yes

— often used with in

what in hell are you doing

or the

get the hell out of here

or to

lives way to hell out in the sticks

hope to hell you're right

or as

cold as hell

serious as all hell

he sure as hell did it

or in the phrases hell of a

in a hell of a mess

heard a hell of a crash

a good singer and one hell of an actor

and hell out of

scared the hell out of him

the big guns smashed hell out of them

b. : a place or state of turmoil, disorder, or destruction : pandemonium

all hell broke loose

: havoc

raise hell with the true shape of the facts — John Lardner

the wind played hell with the garden

: ruin

said the country was going to hell in a hack

c. : a cause of torment, tumult, or havoc ; specifically : severe verbal castigation

got hell from his boss for being late


(1) : unrestrained fun or sportiveness : tomfoolery

the children were full of hell and the house was soon a shambles

(2) : the vexations or adventurous satisfaction of an activity — usually used in the phrase just for the hell of it

broke all the windows just for the hell of it

hopped a freight just for the hell of it

(3) : the most vexing, pleasing, or notable feature — used with the

the hell of it was that nobody could understand him

the hell of the plan is that it works


a. archaic : a receptacle into which a tailor throws his pieces

b. : hellbox

4. : gambling house : a cheap place of public resort : hall , house , joint

dining … in the cheap obscurity of a Soho eating hell — Aldous Huxley

- hell and gone

- hell and high water

- hell for

- hell on

- hell to pay

- what the hell

II. intransitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

1. : to behave in a noisy and often dissolute way : carouse

Saturday night was their night to hell a little — H.E.Giles

come down to the city to hell around for a weekend — Merle Miller

2. : to travel at high speed

a police radio car came helling down between the elevated pillars, siren blasting — Jack Jones b.1923

with passengers numbering from two to nine, we helled all over the countryside — Bill Mauldin

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.