American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The abode of condemned souls and devils in some religions; the place of eternal punishment for the wicked after death, presided over by Satan.
- n. A state of separation from God; exclusion from God's presence.
- n. The abode of the dead, identified with the Hebrew Sheol and the Greek Hades; the underworld.
- n. A situation or place of evil, misery, discord, or destruction: "War is hell” ( William Tecumseh Sherman).
- n. Torment; anguish: went through hell on the job.
- n. The powers of darkness and evil.
- n. Informal One that causes trouble, agony, or annoyance: The boss is hell when a job is poorly done.
- n. A sharp scolding: gave the student hell for cheating.
- n. Informal Excitement, mischievousness, or high spirits: We did it for the sheer hell of it.
- n. A tailor's receptacle for discarded material.
- n. Printing A hellbox.
- n. Informal Used as an intensive: How the hell can I go? You did one hell of a job.
- n. Archaic A gambling house.
- v. Informal To behave riotously; carouse: out all night helling around.
- interj. Used to express anger, disgust, or impatience.
- idiom. for the hell of it For no particular reason; on a whim: walked home by the old school for the hell of it.
- idiom. hell on Informal Damaging or destructive to: Driving in a hilly town is hell on the brakes.
- idiom. hell on Informal Unpleasant to or painful for.
- idiom. or Troubles or difficulties of whatever magnitude: We're staying, come hell or high water.
- idiom. hell to pay Great trouble: If we're wrong, there'll be hell to pay.
- idiom. like hell Informal Used as an intensive: He ran like hell to catch the bus.
- idiom. like hell Informal Used to express strong contradiction or refusal: He says he's going along with us—Like hell he is!
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The abode of the dead; the place of departed spirits; the grave; the infernal regions, regarded as a place of existence after death: called in Hebrew Sheol, and by the Greeks Hades.
- n. [In the authorized version of the Bible the word hell occurs 54 times, viz., 31 times in the Old Testament and 23 times in the New. In the Old Testament it translates the Hebrew name Sheol, which is also translated the grave (31 times) and the pit (3 times). In the revised version hell has been retained in the prophetical books, and Sheol substituted for it in the poetical books and passages, except in Deut. xxxii. 22, Ps. lv. 15, and lxxxvi. 13, where it is changed to pit. In both the authorized and the revised version of the New Testament, hell is used 12 times to translate the Greek
γέεννα(transliterated gehenna in the Vulgate), while in the authorized version it is used 10 times for the Greek ᾅδης, and once (2 Pet. ii. 4) for ταρταοώσας(Tartarus). In the revised version hell is retained for Tartarus, and Hades has been used for the Greek ᾅδης. See Gehenna, grave, Hades, and Sheol.]
- n. The abode of devils and condemned spirits; the place or state of punishment of the wicked after death; the infernal regions, regarded as a place of torment.
- n. The infernal powers; the powers of darkness and evil.
- n. Something regarded as resembling hell.
- n. Specifically— Any place or condition of captivity or torment; any experience of great suffering: as, a hell upon earth; a hell of suspense or suspicion.
- n. A gaming-house; a gaming-room; a gamblers' den.
- n. In some games, as barley-brake, the place to which those who are caught are carried.
- n. A place where things are covered up or hidden; a place of concealment; specifically, a place into which a tailor throws his shreds or his cabbaged stuff, or a printer his broken type.
- n. Formerly, in England, a place under the exchequer chamber where the king's debtors were confined.
- To hide; cover.
- A colloquial contraction of he will.
- n. In various religions, the place where some or all spirits are believed to go after death
- n. uncountable The place where devils live and where sinners are punished after death
- n. countable, hyperbolic A place or situation of great suffering in life.
- n. countable A place for gambling.
- n. An extremely hot place.
- n. Used as an intensifier in phrases grammatically requiring a noun
- interj. not polite Used to express negative discontent.
- interj. not polite Used to emphasize
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The place of the dead, or of souls after death; the grave; -- called in Hebrew
sheol, and by the Greeks hades.
- n. The place or state of punishment for the wicked after death; the abode of evil spirits. Hence, any mental torment; anguish.
- n. A place where outcast persons or things are gathered.
- n. A dungeon or prison; also, in certain running games, a place to which those who are caught are carried for detention.
- n. A gambling house.
- n. A place into which a tailor throws his shreds, or a printer his broken type.
- v. obsolete To overwhelm.
- n. noisy and unrestrained mischief
- n. any place of pain and turmoil
- n. a cause of difficulty and suffering
- n. (religion) the world of the dead
- n. (Christianity) the abode of Satan and the forces of evil; where sinners suffer eternal punishment
- n. violent and excited activity
- From Middle English helle, from Old English hel, hell, helle ("nether world, abode of the dead, hell"), from Proto-Germanic *haljō (“nether world, concealed place”), from Proto-Indo-European *kel- (“to cover, conceal, save”). Cognate Dutch hel ("hell"), German Hölle ("hell"), Swedish helvete ("hell"), Icelandic hel ("the abode of the dead, death"). Also related to the Hel of Germanic mythology. See also hele. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English helle, from Old English. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“It may be well for theologians to know (if any of them believe in hell as preached) whether or not they have got through discussing hell; their views have no weight whatever on the minds of the masses, for they are all the time making light, fun, and sport of the word _hell_. ”
“I ain't dictatin 'what kind of a hell there is; you can make it fire or water or anything else you like, but _there is a hell_, an' _you believe in it_.”
“But El Salvador lent a whole different meaning to the term hell hole.”
““And who in hell is Weedon Scott?” the faro-dealer demanded.”
“What in hell is the harm in having the President speak to school children?”
“I concur with and paraphrase Dante, the deepest pit in hell is reserved for betrayers and oath-breakers.”
“One nice buck for sure. dgmartin, WHAT in hell is an honest politician?”
“It seems that even in the King James tradition, the use of the word hell is decreasing.”
“And where in hell is JHC with all this god talk going on?”
“Where in hell is there a connection between 19 foreigners with knives murdering 3,000 Americans, and needing to treasonously disarm Americans?”
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