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

  • n. A place or state of torment or suffering.
  • n. The abode of condemned souls; hell.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. In Judaism and the New Testament the place where some or all spirits are believed to go after death.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • proper n. The valley of Hinnom, near Jerusalem, where some of the Israelites sacrificed their children to Moloch, which, on this account, was afterward regarded as a place of abomination, and made a receptacle for all the refuse of the city, perpetual fires being kept up in order to prevent pestilential effluvia. In the New Testament the name is transferred, by an easy metaphor, to Hell.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In Jewish hist., the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, in which was Tophet, where the Israelites once sacrificed their children to Moloch (2 Ki. xxiii. 10).
  • n. In the Bible, the place of the future punishment of the wicked: a transliteration of the Greek word γέεννα, which the authorized version translates hell and hell-fire, and the revised version hell of fire and hell.

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

  • n. a place where the wicked are punished after death


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

Late Latin, from Greek Geenna, from Hebrew gê' hinnōm, possibly short for gê' ben hinnōm, valley of the son of Hinnom, a valley south of Jerusalem : gê', valley of, bound form of gay', valley; see gyא in Semitic roots + hinnōm, personal name; see hnn in Semitic roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek γέεννα, from Hebrew גֵּיהִנּוֹם (ge'henom) ‘hell’, literally ‘valley of Hinnom’



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  • Ancient Jerusalem's dumpsite was beyond the walls of the Old City in the Valley of Hinnom. In the days of the Judaean kings, according to the Bible, cults would go to the valley to sacrifice children to the pagan god Moloch. By Jesus' time, Hinnom was a foul dump full of rotting garbage, animal carcasses, and smoky, acrid fires. It was, in a word, hellish, which is why the valley's other name, Gehenna, came to stand for the name where sinners were tortured in the fires of eternal damnation.
    Dan Fagin, Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation (New York: Bantam Books, 2014), p. 85

    February 7, 2016