Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A place or condition suggestive of hell, especially with respect to human suffering or death: the inferno of battle.
  • n. A place of fiery heat or destruction.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Hell-like place or situation.
  • n. A large fire, a conflagration (Wikipedia)

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The infernal regions; hell.
  • n. A raging fire.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Hell; the infernal regions.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (Christianity) the abode of Satan and the forces of evil; where sinners suffer eternal punishment
  • n. any place of pain and turmoil
  • n. a very intense and uncontrolled fire

Etymologies

Italian, hell, from Late Latin īnfernus; see infernal.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Italian inferno ("hell"), from Latin infernus ("of the lower regions"), inferna ("the lower regions"); see infernal. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • No one told the workers on the 9th floor, who were trapped behind locked doors in what can only be described as an inferno.

    Richard Greenwald: Lessons from History

  • You could see one of the worst qualities of life on the planet, but in this inferno was an enterprising population that worked like ants.

    French Word-A-Day:

  • They say the inferno was a mass suicide orchestrated by Koresh, who had predicted an attack and told followers to be ready to die for him in a fire that would take them all to heaven.

    Surviving Davidians mark tragedy’s

  • MARQUEZ: One Forest Service official calls the inferno a tornado made flames with a will of its own.

    CNN Transcript Oct 30, 2003

  • All that was needed to turn the deck into an inferno was a spark, and Zavala was glad to provide one.

    SERPENT

  • Mingled with the desire that raged within him like an inferno was a cold, bitter anger stemming from the knowledge that he would be neither the first nor the last man to possess her.

    MEMORY’S EMBRACE

  • Yes, the inferno was the most thrilling part of the ship; and no other part of the ship could hold a candle to it.

    Your United States Impressions of a first visit

  • The fire recalled the inferno that destroyed a nearly completed hotel adjacent to state broadcaster CCTV's landmark new office building in downtown Beijing, leaving one firefighter dead.

    Arab Times Kuwait English Daily

  • The Bangkok Post said the owner of the Santika club and the lead singer of the band playing that night are among those charged over the inferno, which is believed to have broken out after fireworks were set off to celebrate New Year's Eve 2008.

    The Independent - Frontpage RSS Feed

  • It is believed the source of the inferno was a wood stove on the front porch that served as the home's heat source.

    The First Perspective

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  • Dante's vision of Hell and environs qualifies as the devil's playground. See Free Association.

    February 5, 2008