Definition of give someone hell in US English:

give someone hell


  • Severely reprimand or make things very unpleasant for someone.

    • ‘I'm looking forward to going over there and giving them hell.’
    • ‘I keep screwing up the spelling on people's names, and my editor gives me hell for it.’
    • ‘I can hear that screechy voice of hers giving me hell - but she took care of me.’
    • ‘I took the plunge to be different even if others give me hell for it.’
    • ‘All I can say is that if it happened here, the court would really give him hell for wasting its time.’
    • ‘Indeed, he usually proceeded with the air of a man on his way to give somebody hell.’
    • ‘And I will give him hell from the cradle to the grave.’
    • ‘I know of another man who bought his daughter a car for her 21st birthday and she wrote it off when she wrapped it around a telegraph pole while doing 70 miles and hour and his wife gave him hell for getting the girl such a fast car.’
    • ‘I'm going to give you hell, but I love every one of you.’
    • ‘All I do is to tell them the truth, and that hurts a lot worse than giving them hell.’
    • ‘After laying down like a dead thing all day she found enough fight to give me hell.’
    • ‘He has got to have oxygen because his lungs are giving him hell.’
    • ‘In the end, she decided to show him, knowing she would be given hell if he ever found out that she knew and didn't tell him.’
    • ‘If your eyes are still a wreck after all that effort, complain to your coworkers that your new contact lenses are giving you hell, even if you don't wear any.’
    • ‘It was a week since Robert had left and Victoria was giving Clara hell.’
    • ‘Because Vera refused to do her work, Bridget has been giving her hell.’
    • ‘Driving him home, I gave him hell, in my tired, hungover way.’
    • ‘Back in the late 80s and early 90s, feminists within liberal groups would give you hell if you talked about women like that.’
    • ‘He's been giving me hell ever since they got engaged.’
    • ‘But he was giving Connie hell when I left the house this morning to look for you.’
    reprimand severely, rebuke, admonish, chastise, chide, upbraid, reprove, reproach, scold, remonstrate with, berate, take to task, pull up, castigate, lambaste, read someone the riot act, give someone a piece of one's mind, haul over the coals, lecture, criticize, censure
    harass, hound, plague, badger, harry, pester, bother, worry, annoy, trouble, bully, intimidate, pick on, bait, molest, bedevil, victimize, terrorize
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