Definition of hell in English:

hell

noun

  • 1A place regarded in various religions as a spiritual realm of evil and suffering, often traditionally depicted as a place of perpetual fire beneath the earth where the wicked are punished after death.

    • ‘We must always remember that the purifying fires of heaven are hotter than the fires of hell.’
    • ‘But I'm committed to the teaching of the scriptures that there is a heaven and a hell.’
    • ‘In that explanation, the hell realm was in the depths of the earth.’
    • ‘Do you want reliable answers concerning issues like life, forgiveness, death, heaven or hell?’
    • ‘So God's holiness makes hell as inevitable as his love makes heaven.’
    • ‘It teaches that there is no eternal hell or damnation and every soul has the capacity to realize the Truth.’
    • ‘I believe I am making my own hell or heaven now and that my after life will be what I deserve.’
    • ‘The hell of this world is all the hell I will endure and it is all the heaven unbelievers will ever enjoy.’
    • ‘They conceived the idea that God dwells within each person and that heaven and hell exist here and now on earth.’
    • ‘Like everyone else I know, I am a first-timer on this earth and can shed no light on the existence of an afterlife or heaven and hell.’
    • ‘Heaven and hell are eternal states with no movement of people from one to the other.’
    • ‘No criminal could be as cruel as the God who would consign human beings to a hell.’
    • ‘Then the soul is sent either to heaven to enjoy the fruits of a decent life or condemned to eternal hell and damnation forever.’
    • ‘If this is true, then the burning fires of hell would be the coziest place imaginable.’
    • ‘All those whose names are not written in the book of life will be thrown into hell, the lake of fire, and the sentence will be eternal.’
    the netherworld, the abode of the dead, the land of the dead, the infernal regions, the inferno, the nether regions, the abyss
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A state or place of great suffering; an unbearable experience.
      ‘I've been through hell’
      ‘he made her life hell’
      • ‘Jail is in many ways worse anyway, with life inside being a living hell.’
      • ‘The people around him had no idea that it was really a living hell for him.’
      • ‘For my husband and thousands like him, life really is a living hell.’
      • ‘That girl, now that I think back, showed me that not all girls were like those ones who had made my life hell at such an impressionable age.’
      • ‘I may as well live in a fiery inferno, for God's sake, because my life has become a living hell!’
      • ‘It's been going on for three years - it's a living hell and we've decided enough is enough.’
      • ‘The mold, the weather, and my sinuses are conspiring to make my life a living hell.’
      • ‘It truly has been the closest thing to a living hell that I've ever experienced.’
      • ‘A callous dog owner has escaped going to jail after making his pet's life a living hell of prolonged torment.’
      • ‘You can say that your life has been a living hell for the last few months.’
      • ‘He spent six weeks in a living hell all because of his thoughtlessness!’
      • ‘After the death, staff at the home became intolerably cruel to her and made her life a living hell.’
      • ‘They are suffering terribly but their mind is perfect, so it is a living hell.’
      • ‘It's marvellous for two days, then you feel like you're in a living hell.’
      • ‘Before long, an unspeakable hell of gunfire, death and destruction surround you.’
      • ‘The stories from those inside haunts anyone who hears them, and this is perhaps the closest thing to a living hell.’
      • ‘Why do you continue to make my life a living hell now you are dead?’
      • ‘If you know what local television is like in the Philippines you know what a living hell it was.’
      • ‘You vow you're going to make his/her life a living hell as long as you are alive.’
      • ‘It attracts the drug trade and expands it and simply makes life a living hell.’

exclamation

  • 1Used to express annoyance or surprise or for emphasis.

    ‘oh, hell—where will this all end?’
    ‘hell, no, we were all married’
    • ‘Don't give it a second thought; hell, most other magazine editors don't.’
    • ‘Plus we love our food and, hell, we were stuck with each other for fatter or thinner.’
    • ‘It also says to people smuggling drugs - hell, if you're caught, you might as well shoot it out.’
    • ‘Green was the color of their clothes and equipment and, hell, the name stuck.’
    • ‘I suppose it hurt because, hell, no girl likes having another girl picked over her.’
    • ‘She was sure the neighbours could hear them as well - hell, the whole terrace could probably hear them.’
    • ‘Without the blues, there is no Elvis or Chuck Berry, no Rolling Stones and, hell, no Justin Timberlake.’
    • ‘I guess it was going to happen sooner or later - hell, I predicted it about a month ago.’
    • ‘We don't even mind that you came up with the next new year first; hell, we're used to it.’
    • ‘I don't see any dishonour in this at all; hell, isn't it how Parliament is supposed to work?’
    • ‘I went to this cheap salon in Madison, the girl put some fluid on my head and, hell, my hair went green and hard.’
    • ‘You can't afford a gun safety class; hell, you can barely afford the gun.’
    • ‘I like games and I know they can be addictive but, hell, killing over one is just plain stupid.’
    • ‘I tried to work out if they were pitying or despising me but, hell, it made no difference.’
    • ‘I checked the ticket in the machine and the parking was free of charge - hell, what a bonus.’
    • ‘Japan is actually bigger than the UK, bigger than Italy - hell, it's even bigger than Germany.’
    • ‘As a matter of fact, nobody else in the whole Australian squad could but, hell, with Warne you just never know.’
    • ‘He responded that he certainly had an opinion about the movie - hell, he made it, in fact.’
    • ‘We will not come out with a firm argument this week - hell, we might not even print this issue.’
    1. 1.1informal Expressing anger, contempt, or disbelief.
      ‘who the hell are you?’
      ‘the hell you are!’
      • ‘The first, and perhaps greatest issue, is why the hell are the deaths censored as much as they are in this game?’
      • ‘Oh hell, have I been elected the head of this little project or something?’
      • ‘Oh, I think you've got it all right, but whatever the hell it is you've got, keep it the hell away from me!’
      • ‘Before she could do anything like get the hell away from a situation she didn't want to face he gave her a slightly stern Look.’
      • ‘If we're not part of the generation that took the kids, then who the hell is Mr Howard talking about?’
      • ‘If there are no ghosts, then who the hell are all these people?’

Phrases

  • all hell broke loose

    • informal Suddenly there was pandemonium.

      • ‘It always starts with an investigative article in either The Washington Post or The New York Times, and all hell is let loose.’
      • ‘But that's what he got - and all hell broke loose.’
      • ‘When the final whistle blew all hell broke loose.’
      • ‘All hell would have broken loose if a fraction of these acts had been performed by the other side.’
      • ‘They agreed to meet and had nominated two of four delegates when Beverley arrived to ask them if they had their delegation organised and all hell broke loose.’
      • ‘We'd simply been reading a map when all hell broke loose, and now there were more than a dozen men milling around and telling us they were going to take Andrew's bike and we must go with them to the police station.’
      • ‘But when I got to Los Angeles at the age of 22, all hell broke loose.’
      • ‘‘All of a sudden, all hell broke loose,’ he told magistrates.’
      • ‘Suddenly all hell broke loose and everybody dived for cover.… It was only later that the man's story emerged.’
      • ‘Suddenly, all hell broke loose; there was gunfire and explosions everywhere.’
      • ‘Suddenly, all hell broke loose and a couple of compartments were set on fire.’
      • ‘Over the next few weeks, all hell broke loose on campus.’
      • ‘They give him a learning support assistant but as soon as things start to improve they withdraw it and all hell is let loose.’
      • ‘‘We were there until 11 pm and then all hell broke loose,’ said the prison officer.’
      • ‘And then all hell broke loose when he walked out.’
      • ‘Suddenly all hell broke loose as one of the suspects struggled free, grabbed a knife and attacked an unarmed officer.’
      • ‘A raucous screech flooded her head and suddenly all hell broke loose.’
      • ‘Chances are, you might be a little shaken up if you happened to be down at Vinyl Lounge on Saturday night, when all hell broke loose outside the club.’
      • ‘But as soon as I say I'm only interested in Asians, suddenly all hell breaks loose!’
      • ‘And then all hell broke loose on the night of March 10 that year.’
  • (as) —— as hell

    • informal Used for emphasis.

      ‘he's as guilty as hell’
      • ‘What in hell does one's husband or wife have to do with anybody's ability to perform a job?’
      • ‘With a famous director father and fabulous superstar mum, Liza never stood a hope in hell of achieving normality.’
      • ‘What in hell would they think of the metal gizmo we'd plunked down on their back yards?’
      • ‘There's no chance of escape and there was no way in hell I was going to make it known that I am in the adjacent room.’
      • ‘If you know my wife you'll know that she's not into the stereotypical ideals I have no hope in hell of competing with.’
      • ‘There is no way in hell they want to be part of what, in essence, would be the new crusades.’
      • ‘There's no way in hell any one person can take in all the shows, and so clues must be searched out.’
      • ‘There's no way in hell I'm not going to end up completely losing any ID card I get.’
      • ‘I think you just need one in order to give you a hope in hell of not reverting to form…’
      • ‘All the other teams saw us putting up ours so began theirs, but only Carrie's team has a hope in hell of beating our masterpiece.’
      • ‘The abuse was vicious and unrelenting and there wasn't a chance in hell that it would go unchallenged.’
      • ‘There is no chance in hell of the Coalition leaving Labor with a massive surplus.’
      • ‘If he can't be honest about his own past, how in hell are we expected to believe him when he talks about the major issues.’
      • ‘Once thing is true, there is no way in hell you can be a meaningful councillor and an MP at the same time.’
      • ‘I had no hope in hell of catching him in the flesh but I hope to be a nightly fixture in his nightmares for years to come.’
      • ‘I don't care how pretty they are: there isn't a chance in hell that the new version can offer up a cast to beat that.’
      • ‘It is his first choice, but he says he hasn't a hope in hell of getting in.’
      • ‘For starters the presentation sucks, and I don't have a hope in hell of figuring out how to design a decent title bar.’
      • ‘There was no way in hell I was eating that so I settled for a meat and potato pie.’
      • ‘So with everyone describing me as a Scottish painter, I reckoned I didn't have a hope in hell.’
  • be hell on

    • informal Be very unpleasant or harmful to.

      ‘summer can be hell on a man's skin’
      • ‘Have I ever mentioned this knight-in-shining-armor thing is hell on the muscles?’
      • ‘We're in one of those no-fun-news cycles, which is hell on a guy who likes a happy cocktail with his evening reading.’
      • ‘Going back to Standard Time is hell on us nightowls.’
      • ‘Hey, from the looks of it, it's been hell on you, too.’
      • ‘War is hell on a president and his approval ratings.’
      • ‘But the after effects were hell on her mind and body.’
      • ‘Only problem is, driving around with 2,000 pounds of papers in my back seat is hell on my car.’
      • ‘Staying at all those run-down places has been hell on my back.’
      • ‘Then we told him that almost flying into mountains is hell on the nervous system, not fun.’
      • ‘I cringed, this all must have been hell on his burnt hand.’
      • ‘It would be hell on business, though, so we skip it.’
      • ‘Health foods need not be hell on your tastebuds.’
      • ‘This was hell on horse's hooves, considering the hot pavement they had to walk on for much of the way.’
      • ‘Going through old blog stuff is hell on the brain.’
      • ‘The impact was hell on his new bullet wounds and he found that he was bleeding quite profusely.’
  • catch (or get) hell

    • informal Be severely reprimanded.

      ‘Paul kept his mouth shut and looked apologetic—we got hell’
      • ‘Of course, nothing is sweeter to a kid than imagining their parent getting hell from some other bigger older parent.’
      • ‘They are going to get hell when the social worker visits next month from the police.’
      • ‘He had probably spent four hours getting hell from her for what she had read in my journals.’
      • ‘I get hell when I get home: ‘These stains will NEVER come out.’’
      • ‘There's no way you could have gone home as drunk as you were and not get hell from your aunt, so you must have crashed somewhere.’
      • ‘Neither one of us wants to have children, because we feel that passing on our genes would be a form of child abuse (sure, they're great in adults, but kids like us get hell in school).’
      • ‘Randy still wasn't comfortable telling anyone Calvin's name; for fear that Calvin could get hell from the police.’
      • ‘If I hear any fighting you're going to get hell, okay mister?’
      • ‘I was going to get hell for that whenever I return to school after the cruise.’
      • ‘Did I ever get hell from my dad about it - he wasn't as violent back then, but he sure roughed me up a lot.’
      • ‘Or just about anything, because trying to spare the person that I'm seeing or involved with at that time because it seems to be a lot of - I mean, he's probably going to get hell if he went home, if he said the truth and went home.’
      • ‘‘In the forest…’ Christopher trailed off, knowing he was going to get hell for a response like that.’
      • ‘If I didn't already tell you, I was a prima ballerina… if anyone reading this can think of a more manly name for ballerina, please let me know, because I got hell in school because of it.’
      • ‘He's going to get hell about the mess here though.’
      • ‘But the chauffeur knew he'd get hell from her if he didn't help her, so he quickly extended his hand to her.’
      be severely reprimanded, be upbraided, be scolded, get a scolding, be admonished, be castigated, be rebuked, be chastised, be censured, be criticized severely, be taken to task, get into trouble, be hauled over the coals
      catch it, get what for, be told off, get into deep water, get into hot water, get into shtook, get a dressing-down, get an earful, get a roasting, get a rocket, get a rollicking, get a rap over the knuckles, get a slap on the wrist
      View synonyms
  • come hell or high water

    • Whatever difficulties may occur.

      • ‘A quarter of a century earlier a young man and woman promised to wed each other, come hell or high water.’
      • ‘The Alien agrees to ensure, come hell or high water, that he attends the scheduled appointment, as the prospect of attempting to reschedule is unthinkable.’
      • ‘But it looks like that won't happen, so, come hell or high water, I am getting a job at Starbucks.’
      • ‘Reporters cultivate an image of dogged truth-seekers who kick up rocks and report what they find come hell or high water.’
      • ‘Once a good design solution is found that totally suits the product, it is stuck with consistently come hell or high water, like a good piece of product design that you know just doesn't need any more tinkering with.’
      • ‘Either way the Dominican College is determined to maintain the rugby ethos, come hell or high water.’
      • ‘This decision to remain silent will disappoint readers who expect The Detroit News to stand with the Republican presidential candidate come hell or high water.’
      • ‘Madge replied: ‘Oh yes, that's just my husband Syd, I told him he was going to cut the grass today come hell or high water!’’
      • ‘I really like her work, so I was pretty much going to go and see this show come hell or high water.’
      • ‘By now I was determined I was going to preach that sermon come hell or high water.’
      • ‘The strategy is pretty much the same as that drawn up by the Romans: Find and support local strongmen who can deliver the goods to the imperial capital, come hell or high water.’
      • ‘I am a sceptic and believe this government is committed to membership come hell or high water.’
      • ‘Since she is teetering on the brink of one of her moods, this is an outing that will come to fruition come hell or high water.’
      • ‘This is probably a good enough reason, by itself, why the elections should go ahead, come hell or high water.’
      • ‘It wouldn't be because you had already made up your mind on what you were determined to do, come hell or high water, would it?’
      • ‘I hate confrontations with a passion but I wasn't going to back down, come hell or high water.’
      • ‘Montreal merchants, worried that the newly-opened Erie Canal will sap business to New York, decide to build a canal of their own come hell or high water.’
      • ‘I wanted more, I wanted a baby come hell or high water.’
      • ‘Like my long-suffering employee, I want my money to be in my bank account come hell or high water with all the deductions already made, all the expenses already claimed and I don't want to have to fill in any more forms about it.’
      • ‘They were there to hear some great blues, and come hell or high water, they were going to hear it.’
      by some means, in some way, no matter how, somehow or other, by fair means or foul, by hook or by crook, come what may, come hell or high water
      View synonyms
  • for the hell of it

    • informal Just for fun.

      ‘she walked on window ledges for the hell of it’
      • ‘I've known academics who speak Latin for the hell of it.’
      • ‘To get round this - and, I'm sure, just for the hell of it - the doors have two hinges, the second about a foot in from the first.’
      • ‘We'd watch cars and people going by just for the hell of it.’
      • ‘I've used Pythagoras' Theorem about twice - just for the hell of it.’
      • ‘I'm curious what other extreme sports you might be into or just have tried for the hell of it.’
      • ‘Or do we have a lot more criminals interfering with other people's property just for the hell of it?’
      • ‘Now, I don't disrespect McDonalds for the hell of it - they're a successful machine that works very well.’
      • ‘What I haven't tried at least once for the hell of it, I think I could figure out.’
      • ‘It's not just photographing your life for 24 hours for the hell of it or the pure vanity.’
      • ‘My favourite kind of lie is the pointless but plausible lie; the odd nugget of needless fiction dropped into conversation just for the hell of it.’
      • ‘They bring you down, only to bring you back up again, just for the hell of it.’
      • ‘I decided to give myself a one-second burst just for the hell of it.’
      • ‘Just for the hell of it, I went back and tried 4 tickets, which also worked.’
      • ‘In tinder-dry conditions, the fire service could do without reckless idiots setting fires just for the hell of it.’
      • ‘I've had more fun this last week than I can remember having in a long time, which just goes to show - sometimes you should do stuff just for the hell of it.’
      • ‘Eventually I'll review all the movies I've seen, just for the hell of it.’
      • ‘If you read the small print on their extremely lengthy content guidelines they basically add a clause that says they can simply delete a site if they feel like doing so, just for the hell of it!’
      • ‘Maybe I'll drive around the block a few times just for the hell of it.’
      • ‘Request a matching waistcoat just for the hell of it.’
      • ‘I'm never tied down; few things could keep me from flying to Fiji tomorrow, just for the hell of it.’
  • —— from hell

    • informal An extremely unpleasant or troublesome instance or example of something.

      ‘I've got a hangover from hell’
      • ‘Landlords have expressed concerns over a crackdown on neighbours from hell.’
      • ‘A programme about neighbours from hell is guaranteed to get me put into a psychiatric ward for my own safety.’
      • ‘Lucas also finished his job from hell on Friday so we went out for a long big breakfast on Saturday morning to celebrate.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, they forgot to include surviving the honeymoon from hell in their vows.’
      • ‘Holidaymakers have told of their charter flight from hell that should have taken four hours - but lasted two days.’
      • ‘A Swindon family had a holiday from hell in a Spanish hotel where hundreds of guests were struck down with a mystery bug.’
      • ‘We're in the middle of what they said would be Tony's week from hell.’
      • ‘You could be caught on camera when a mobile CCTV unit takes to Southend's streets to snoop on neighbours from hell.’
      • ‘The torment imposed by neighbours from hell can go on for years.’
      • ‘I felt as if I got smashed last night and was now experiencing the hangover from hell.’
      • ‘However, we all seem to have the cold from hell at the moment, so this organisation could all go rapidly down hill in the near future.’
      • ‘The other guests must have thought it was their holiday from hell.’
      • ‘Some people go on holiday to get away from the neighbours from hell.’
      • ‘I woke up this morning with one of my headaches from hell - the kind that makes my whole body shiver and turns my head into a cannonball.’
      • ‘If you are a normal, hard working, sensible teacher, this is your week from hell.’
      • ‘I have the headache from hell, my throat is killing me, and my sinuses hurt.’
      • ‘Residents living in a Penhill street are celebrating the end of a family from hell's reign of abuse and intimidation.’
      • ‘My next door neighbours have turned into the customers from hell.’
      • ‘An innovative help group for residents whose lives are blighted by neighbours from hell will be piloted in two York areas.’
      • ‘In this service station from hell, there was one diesel pump open.’
  • get the hell out (of)

    • informal Escape quickly from (a place or situation)

      ‘let's all get the hell out of here’
      • ‘I realized I had some paperwork in my hand, so I went back to the office and thought, ‘I'm putting this down and getting the hell out of here.’’
      • ‘In part this is because I got the hell out quite quickly.’
      • ‘Then the cops showed up and told everyone to get the hell out of there.’
      • ‘He is, after all, only upholding one of the most venerable of British traditions: getting the hell out.’
      • ‘Her first instinct was to listen to him and get the hell out of there as quickly as possible, but even as she was about to turn away she knew that escaping was pointless.’
      • ‘Then everyone packed up and got the hell out of there and went back to L.A., which made Jackson very sad.’
      • ‘The store was a mess afterward, the only thing I could think of was getting the hell out of there.’
      • ‘I quickly dried my hands, put on the gloves, and got the hell out of there.’
      • ‘If the government wants to preserve newspapers, the best thing it can do is get the hell out of the way.’
      • ‘And everybody is going sell their stock and try their best to get the hell out of there.’
      • ‘They got the hell out of the country, closed up shop and disappeared.’
      • ‘North takes his readers to a place most will never have dreamed of going before, or if they have they have quickly got the hell out.’
      • ‘‘No,’ she said proudly, looking young while she tried on old expressions, ‘I got the hell out on my own.’’
      • ‘The good news is that High Command is aware of our situation and our desire to get the hell out of here.’
      • ‘All she wanted to do was get this meeting over with, and then hopefully get the hell out of town as quickly as possible.’
      • ‘She always liked it when he visited, as it really helped her to get the hell out of her agonizing situation for a short while.’
      • ‘Now, if you have any idea at all what's good for you, you will get the hell out of here and never come back.’
      • ‘I turned to port, cranked smartly on the oars, and got the hell out of the ship's way.’
      • ‘My parents didn't want to be caught between that hammer and anvil, so they got the hell out.’
      • ‘There is nothing really stopping me getting the hell out of this situation.’
  • give someone hell

    • informal Severely reprimand or make things very unpleasant for someone.

      • ‘I keep screwing up the spelling on people's names, and my editor gives me hell for it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He has got to have oxygen because his lungs are giving him hell.’
      • ‘Because Vera refused to do her work, Bridget has been giving her hell.’
      • ‘But he was giving Connie hell when I left the house this morning to look for you.’
      • ‘It was a week since Robert had left and Victoria was giving Clara hell.’
      • ‘After laying down like a dead thing all day she found enough fight to give me hell.’
      • ‘I can hear that screechy voice of hers giving me hell - but she took care of me.’
      • ‘Driving him home, I gave him hell, in my tired, hungover way.’
      • ‘All I can say is that if it happened here, the court would really give him hell for wasting its time.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He's been giving me hell ever since they got engaged.’
      • ‘I'm going to give you hell, but I love every one of you.’
      • ‘Back in the late 80s and early 90s, feminists within liberal groups would give you hell if you talked about women like that.’
      • ‘I took the plunge to be different even if others give me hell for it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And I will give him hell from the cradle to the grave.’
      • ‘All I do is to tell them the truth, and that hurts a lot worse than giving them hell.’
      • ‘Indeed, he usually proceeded with the air of a man on his way to give somebody hell.’
      • ‘I'm looking forward to going over there and giving them hell.’
      harass, hound, plague, badger, harry, pester, bother, worry, annoy, trouble, bully, intimidate, pick on, bait, molest, bedevil, victimize, terrorize
      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
      View synonyms
  • go to hell

    • informal Used to express angry rejection of someone or something.

      • ‘He told the judge to go to hell, declared he won't be coming back and complained once again about life as a detainee.’
      • ‘As long as he can show his personal badge of aerobic involvement, the environment, we may presume, can go to hell.’
      • ‘Whosoever is offended by its statements must pack and go to hell!’
      • ‘We must also stop granting planning permission for major developments with huge car parks on the basis that everyone has a car and the rest of us can go to hell.’
      • ‘But as far as I am concerned, all those fancy words can go to hell for this is where I love and long to be.’
      • ‘He told them to go to hell since he could afford a funeral and consolation banquet for his brother at a much lower sum.’
      • ‘I know I was being slightly irrational, but at this point logic could go to hell as far as I was concerned.’
      • ‘They simply want what they want and God can go to hell for all they care if he stands in the way of what they want.’
      • ‘In his arms, her form captured in his cold blue eyes, she was home, safe and the world could go to hell for all it mattered to her.’
      • ‘Lengthy as it is, this method at least makes it less likely that you will cast a vote for someone who thinks you should go to hell.’
      • ‘She has the unbelievably rare quality of being able to tell you how go to hell when needed.’
      • ‘Enough of all of that, for me work will not exist for the next few days, self preservation has taken over and they can go to hell.’
      • ‘So as far as I am concerned your unhappily married personage can go to hell.’
      • ‘My feelings can go to hell; I'm assured that the rest of me is going there anyway.’
      • ‘Yesterday, he threatened to boycott today's proceedings and told the judge to go to hell.’
      • ‘My knee is jiggling under the desk, my focus has vanished and this flier I'm working on can go to hell.’
      • ‘Bobby will come in for severe criticism from the press later, but they can all go to hell.’
      • ‘I wish I didn't need his money and I could tell him to go to hell but truth is, without his donation they wouldn't be able to go to school camp.’
      • ‘Sometimes I get mail from extremist religious people who think I should go to hell.’
      • ‘I asked him to leave the room, put on the rest of my clothes, knocked on his office door, told him to go to hell, and left.’
  • go to (or through) hell and back

    • Endure an extremely unpleasant or difficult experience.

      • ‘‘Every mother is prepared to go to hell and back for their children,’ says Carol.’
      • ‘He had gone through hell and back to save her after trying so hard to conceal the truth.’
      • ‘She has gone to hell and back but mum has always been there for us.’
      • ‘You went to hell and back out there… I have no idea what your strategy was.’
      • ‘Hey, you look like you've gone to hell and back.’
      • ‘‘I went through hell and back and then back again,’ says the 31-year-old San Diego human resources executive.’
      • ‘He heard someone walking towards him, some boy who looked like he had just gone through hell and back.’
      • ‘We went through hell and back during our training days.’
      • ‘He'd gone through hell and back, and almost died.’
      • ‘He was soaked with sweat and blood - although most of it wasn't his - and looked like he had gone through hell and back.’
      • ‘Well if he cared for me, he would have told them to go to hell and back again.’
      • ‘He would go to hell and back for her.’
      • ‘I went to hell and back, but I wouldn't have it any other way.’
      • ‘You'd think the fact that they have gone to hell and back might be a helpful foundation.’
      • ‘He would go to hell and back, and that is what he does.’
      • ‘‘I know, darling, I know,’ she said, ‘But your sister has gone to hell and back with this whole thing since then!’’
      • ‘Lance you have to clean your room, or at least help us, it looks like it went through hell and back, more then once.’
      • ‘‘I need to talk to you, Angel,’ he stated like a man who seemed to have gone to hell and back.’
      • ‘‘I was so young, and I felt like I'd just gone to hell and back,’ he said.’
      • ‘I always think of that last scene where he's gone through hell and back, then he looks deep in the mirror and sees himself from a new perspective.’
  • hell for leather

    • As fast as possible.

      • ‘In case you haven't heard, this year's census will feature ‘Irish’ as an ethnic minority status for the first time - and Irish community leaders are going hell for leather to make sure it gets filled in.’
      • ‘The muscles really get a good work out without going all hell for leather either.’
      • ‘But unless you're going hell for leather at your keyboard, don't put them at the end of every sentence you type!’
      • ‘People are going to be up there going hell for leather.’
      • ‘I asked the lads at half-time to raise the profile of the game, to go hell for leather for the opening exchanges of the second half.’
      • ‘We have been working hell for leather to get it finished and it is a new, exciting learning curve for me, and I have got two great girls working for me.’
      • ‘Both sides went for it hell for leather on the restart.’
      • ‘We know they'd go hell for leather for it… there was no question of complacency, it was just that our forwards did not click on the day, especially in the first half.’
      • ‘Both managers chose to string five across the midfield, causing some congestion in that area, but it underlined their determination to go hell for leather in search of all three points.’
      • ‘Both sides were still going hell for leather at the end of the match and the tackles continued to go flying in fiercely even as injury time ticked away.’
      • ‘But we are going hell for leather to govern by ourselves.’
      • ‘He was going hell for leather and the noises he was making were truly spectacular.’
      • ‘The wind machine goes hell for leather as the clouds in the moonlit sky float serenely.’
      • ‘It looks like the allies are going hell for leather to get it over with.’
      • ‘Outside rugby I'm a fairly placid guy but once I'm on the pitch I go hell for leather.’
      • ‘You are left with two choices - either you let it drift, and risk losing control over the argument, or you go hell for leather and actively push it forward.’
      • ‘Careering towards her are four two-year-olds, pedalling hell for leather on miniature cars.’
      • ‘The last movement, so easily a tiresome adjunct, was played hell for leather.’
      • ‘But we've got three short stages to do tomorrow and we'll just have to go hell for leather and make sure we overtake Marcus.’
      • ‘Shoe shop manager Mark Haynes is a secret tough man, who likes nothing better than running hell for leather in the roughest of conditions.’
      as fast as possible, as quickly as possible, very fast, very quickly, very rapidly, very speedily, very swiftly, hurriedly, at full speed, at the double, at full tilt, at full pelt, headlong, hotfoot, post-haste, pell-mell, helter-skelter, at the speed of light, at breakneck speed, like an arrow from a bow
      like a bat out of hell, at a lick, like the wind, like greased lightning, at warp speed, like a bomb, like mad, like crazy, like blazes
      like the clappers, at a rate of knots, like billy-o
      lickety-split
      apace, hurry-scurry
      View synonyms
  • hell's bells

    • informal An exclamation of annoyance or anger.

      • ‘Hell's bells, what a huge show this turned out to be.’
      • ‘No, I did not, but hell's bells, I'm glad it did!’
      • ‘Well hell's bells, David certainly made that happen.’
      • ‘Now it's… it's… hell's bells we don't even know what this bit sounds like but it's genius whatever it is.’
      • ‘This is not to say that I'm the most current human being on the face of the earth - hell's bells, I'm in my 70s.’
      • ‘But hell's bells, look at it again!’
  • hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

    • proverb A woman who has been rejected by a man can be ferociously angry and vindictive.

      • ‘They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and, as Susan Flockhart discovered, cyberspace has become the preferred instrument of revenge’
      • ‘Oh, believe you me, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!’
      • ‘As Kristine learned first hand on their date, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.’
      • ‘They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.’
      • ‘Another recipient, who also wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘On the basis that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, we can only guess the author must suspect her husband is being unfaithful and is very bitter.’’
      • ‘It's been said that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, so just imagine what kind of trouble you could find from an angry god.’
  • a (or one) hell of a ——

    • informal Used to emphasize something very bad or great.

      ‘it cost us a hell of a lot of money’
      • ‘With these aircraft coming to the end of their lives, the cost of replacing them is a hell of a lot of money.’
      • ‘They have asked Santa for bikes because they have a hell of a lot of cycling to do.’
      • ‘Even its biggest advocates would have to admit that it really is one hell of a lot of hot air blowing slowly round the internet.’
      • ‘It will take time and effort and money too, though a hell of a lot less than buying one legally.’
      • ‘I am by no means a businesswoman, but I'm pretty sure you need one hell of a lot of money to open a station.’
      • ‘It takes a hell of a lot of money to put on this masquerade in front of the public.’
      • ‘For that, cafe owners gained by selling me a hell of a lot of coffee while I surfed the web.’
      • ‘Assuming we get any takers at all in this mad scheme, it should be a hell of a lot of fun.’
      • ‘The reason the girls are outperforming the lads is because they work a hell of a lot harder.’
      • ‘If they had ever dared to broach the subject with me at the time, my poor parents would have had one hell of a lot of explaining to do.’
      • ‘It doesn't seem like it now, but it was a hell of a lot of money back then.’
      • ‘I am confident one hell of a lot will happen on the Waterfront over the next five years.’
      • ‘Especially if one or both of the kids is home all day, it's one hell of a lot of work.’
      • ‘Like a broken refrigerator, they're also capable of making one hell of a racket and a lot of tears.’
      • ‘Aren't we, by sending one or two artists to Venice, just spending a hell of a lot of money on a good party?’
      • ‘And I have to admit that there is one hell of a lot of good source material I could be using.’
      • ‘I have been to a hell of a lot of South American and Central American countries.’
      • ‘It would need one hell of a lot of earthworms to digest that sort of quantity, and the beds and borders aren't getting any fuller.’
      • ‘It cost them a hell of a lot more to rip it all up and restore it to its original condition when people abandoned it for the out of town mall.’
      • ‘The press had written me off, I've been through a hell of a lot but I came through.’
  • hell's half acre

    • A great distance.

  • hell on wheels

    • A disastrous situation.

  • like hell

    • 1informal Very fast, much, hard, etc. (used for emphasis)

      informal, slang ‘it hurts like hell’
      • ‘Either way, it hurts like hell on my right side when I breathe in.’
      • ‘My legs hurt like hell though - was it the dog, or the cycling?’
      • ‘Two bites on my arm have come up and they itch like hell.’
      • ‘I grabbed a spade and frantically dug a hole in the garden, hoping like hell my flatmate wouldn't turn up during the process.’
      • ‘You kick 'em in the spine when they're not looking and run like hell.’
      • ‘He'd been granted a purpose and was trying like hell to set a good example.’
      • ‘What I may end up doing is trying to get to work really early, then leaving work early and hoping like hell I get there before she leaves.’
      • ‘One witness described Jackson as ‘fighting like hell with the steering wheel’ as he drove along at speed.’
      • ‘I mean, we've had moments in which we've sweated like hell, but the end result has been astonishingly good.’
      • ‘He runs like hell, shelters between a television news van and a car, and covers his nose and mouth with his T-shirt.’
      • ‘She's alive, and she's fighting like hell to live, and she's begging for help.’
      • ‘I moved to this flat from the house opposite and we moved by standing on one side of the main road with a wardrobe, waiting for a gap in the traffic, and then running like hell.’
      • ‘Believe me there will be a time when you miss it like hell!’
      • ‘All I know is that my mouth hurts like hell and I've about as much chance of getting in to see my dentist this week as I have getting into a size 10 dress.’
      • ‘It really is a magnificent bruise and I have no doubt it hurts like hell.’
      • ‘‘But we all come to work like hell for a few years and then take our money home to Poland,’ he said.’
      • ‘I didn't really think about it much as I grew up, unless I bashed my hand against something then the tiny scar hurt like hell.’
      • ‘Either way, you pay in full, and yes, it invariably hurts like hell.’
      • ‘The story wouldn't be about winners, and winning, it would be about losers fighting like hell to avoid another loss.’
      • ‘I can't blame them if they do decide to leave, but I can't say I won't resent it like hell.’
    • 2informal Used in ironic expressions of scorn or disagreement.

      ‘like hell, he thought’
      • ‘Like hell he was going to let her win this easily, he thought angrily.’
      • ‘"Like hell you are," I tell him.’
      • ‘Yeah, like hell it is.’
  • not a hope in hell

    • see hope
      • ‘The Party is in self-destruct mode, and there is not a hope in hell that it will ever regain power.’
      • ‘There is not a hope in hell of a review of the speed limits at present.’
      • ‘There's not a hope in hell of finding my entry that predates me having a blog.’
      • ‘There was not a sniff of what was coming, not a hope in hell.’
      • ‘It doesn't matter that there's not a hope in hell of the stereo ever being loud enough: driving this is fun.’
      • ‘In my view they have not a hope in hell's chance of winning back power without a radical agenda.’
  • play hell

    • 1informal Make a fuss; create havoc.

      • ‘Also, there was one weapon the enemy surprised us with in this campaign, and they played hell with us.’
      • ‘The huge chunk of ice has played merry hell with the normal ocean currents, stopping much of the sea ice from breaking up during the Antarctic summer.’
      • ‘Labor's policy was to play merry hell with health, education and the police.’
      • ‘Constant honking was heard throughout the day playing hell with a peaceful residential locality.’
      • ‘He wanted her gone because she was playing hell with his senses.’
      • ‘But I would have played hell if it hadn't been offered.’
      • ‘We found the leftmost track the easiest, but we're still talking tricky and they'll play hell with your pedalling rhythm, as the lane you're in ends with frustrating regularity and everyone else's lane looks a much better bet…’
      • ‘Trouble was, it never got done, until the doctor himself arrived and played merry hell because I hadn't been given anything to eat or drink for almost 2 days.’
      • ‘When you can't eat, or get sick from antibiotics, which play hell with your stomach, when you can finally eat, Burger King seems very appealing.’
      • ‘We caught up with her as she was driving home from a three hour trip along a mountainous Oregon highway that played hell with the cell-phone connection.’
      • ‘You'll do anything to be near them, accepting pot after pot of coffee, even though it'll play hell with your plumbing.’
      • ‘On a beautiful, cloudless day it was utterly icy cold and there was a ‘lazy wind’ (it cuts straight through you rather than bothering to go round) that was playing hell with my attempts at backhand passes.’
      • ‘The news played hell with the parents of the children, who were on the verge on going hysterical.’
      • ‘My informant excused himself shortly afterwards, on the grounds that his associate would play merry hell if he was late for lunch.’
      • ‘This fun series plays merry hell with biographical facts.’
      • ‘The Sri Lankan cricketers are a worried lot, since their contracts have not been renewed yet with the officials playing merry hell according to information received by Rover.’
      • ‘Whatever force was playing merry hell with her life, she had the strong feeling that it wasn't through with them yet.’
      • ‘Eventually I have always lost money, because these places sell drinks and that plays hell on my concentration.’
      • ‘This played hell with us in the classroom the next day as we would lose lots of sleep.’
      1. 1.1Cause damage.
        ‘the rough road played hell with the tires’
  • the road to hell is paved with good intentions

    • proverb Promises and plans must be put into action, or else they are useless.

      • ‘You know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and all…’
      • ‘They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’
      • ‘More in sorrow than in anger, Shawcross discovers anew that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’
      • ‘They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’
      • ‘As many ambitious people find, however, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’
      • ‘So too, the national lottery, which promised a stairway to heaven, has to date served to confirm how often the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’
      • ‘To sum it up, the road to hell is paved with good intentions (of which the peace movement has many) but a lack of action now condemns people to life in its earthly equivalent.’
      • ‘And so he discovers the road to hell is paved with good intentions and commonplace aspirations.’
      • ‘While I wait for progress out of this mess I'll think of that puritan saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’
      • ‘However, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’
      • ‘And, of course, the road to hell is paved with good intentions…’
      • ‘But the road to hell is paved with good intentions that have already created far too much anguish and hatred.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’
      • ‘It is said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’
      • ‘But, as soon becomes clear, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’
  • there will be hell to pay

    • informal Serious trouble will occur as a result of a previous action.

      • ‘In time he'll probably succeed in taking most of the party with him, but there will be hell to pay.’
      • ‘And if it turns out ultimately that he had nothing to do with anything, no doubt there will be hell to pay.’
      • ‘If the headmaster finds out there will be hell to pay.’
      • ‘But don't you dare try to leave us, or there will be hell to pay.’
      • ‘But when they cross the wrong guy, there will be hell to pay.’
      • ‘If she gets out of line and doesn't heed their first warning, then they promised there will be hell to pay for strike two!’
      • ‘No, we're going to have to trust him, for now - with the caveat that there will be hell to pay if they lie to us.’
      • ‘I'm sure there will be hell to pay at some point this week.’
      • ‘My mom will be wondering where I am by now, she might have actually noticed I'm not there, and there will be hell to pay if I miss dinner!’
      • ‘‘You'd better calm down,’ William said harshly, ‘Because if she wakes up, there will be hell to pay.’’
      • ‘If work does not commence on the proposed sewerage scheme for the town within one month there will be hell to pay.’
      • ‘And this house better be spotless when we get back, or there will be hell to pay!’
      • ‘But if they move us again, there will be hell to pay.’
      • ‘It's obvious from the beginning that his secret will come out and there will be hell to pay when it does.’
      • ‘If we don't say goodbye to her, there will be hell to pay.’
      • ‘And if you start fighting over the blankets there will be hell to pay.’
      • ‘If you want to change things now, just because you've run into a few difficulties or to renegotiate the deal, then there will be hell to pay.’
      • ‘These two reasons have one - and only one - undeniable, inevitable consequence: there are natural limits to these excesses, and when these limits are reached, there will be hell to pay!’
      • ‘But he had better keep his promise or there will be hell to pay.’
      • ‘One day, you will be caught while coming in, and then there will be hell to pay.’
  • to hell

    • Used for emphasis.

      ‘damn it to hell’
      • ‘Damn it all, damn it all to hell.’
      • ‘Damn it to hell, Judy.’
  • to hell with

    • informal Expressing one's scorn or lack of concern for (someone or something)

      ‘to hell with the consequences’
      • ‘These characters have a tendency to pass moral judgments based on their beliefs, and to hell with what anyone else thinks.’
      • ‘Okay, my next two selections are on the basis that you have the money, so you want some thing that you like, and to hell with what the board thinks.’
      • ‘The individual as the supreme representation of Australian society and to hell with our traditional egalitarianism.’
      • ‘I'd like to just tell him to do whatever he wants to and to hell with how I feel, but I can't really believe that he would actually need me to give him a sign.’
      • ‘But when they started attacking the Chinese, I thought, to hell with them.’
      • ‘Now we have plastic bin liners, which makes the bin-man's job much healthier and cleaner - but to hell with the housewife!’
      • ‘Okay, this may be a slightly biased vantage point, but to hell with that.’
      • ‘To hell with quality, to hell with life, to hell with savoring the moment.’
      • ‘Finally, I said to hell with that, and I pulled my car across the road completely blocking traffic.’
      • ‘We say to hell with waiting; jump into the fray now and be part of the process of developing technologies relevant to our own cause.’
      • ‘At that point the cops either got their orders or decided to hell with it; they were streaming past us on all sides.’
      • ‘So, long-time readers may remember something of this story, but to hell with you, I'm writing it anyway.’
      • ‘It's really too dark for my pale skin, but sometimes you wake up in the morning and think: to hell with that.’
      • ‘It is more like a total lack of inhibition, and to hell with any consequences.’
      • ‘Seek out like-minded people and to hell with what unfriendly breeders might think.’
      • ‘Now that is a case of saying, ‘if you want what I am offering then vote for me or to hell with you.’’
      • ‘Oh, to hell with it, I'm entitled to complain if I want to.’
      • ‘We should have stuck to our guns, people tell me, and to hell with Liverpool and to hell with the Tory leadership.’
      • ‘It was about a relationship that wasn't acceptable but the punchline of the film was that they really did love each other, and to hell with everyone else.’
      • ‘I find knitting and quilting very meditative and say to hell with anyone who says derogatory things about it/me.’
  • until (or till) hell freezes over

    • For an extremely long time or forever.

      • ‘He says he'll be honored to welcome the President but won't change his mind until hell freezes over.’
      • ‘‘I am prepared to wait for my answer until hell freezes over,’ Stevenson says.’
      • ‘Clarke responded, ‘Well, they'll say that until hell freezes over.’’
      • ‘Before I write more, because I could write on these subjects until hell freezes over, I'll turn it over to you.’
      • ‘One man proclaimed, ‘We'll fight them, sir, till hell freezes over, and then, sir, we will fight them on the ice.’’
      • ‘It fascinates me that I could water the grass till hell freezes over and nothing and one shower of rain and the place turns green.’
      • ‘That's the way it has been since 1948 and that is the way it is destined to stay till hell freezes over.’
      • ‘They will be at the old game of points-scoring till hell freezes over.’
      • ‘At this time any informed Canberra observer knows that we will be waiting until hell freezes over.’
      • ‘Helen Clark will be standing ready until hell freezes over to enter into negotiations with the United States.’
      • ‘If someone is doing a good job, they can keep electing him/her until hell freezes over.’
      • ‘Do tell him that he has already been civil and supportive, but now is the time to be silent, or he will be her pen pal - if not more - until hell freezes over.’
      forever, permanently, for always, for good and all, perpetually, eternally, for ever and ever, for all time, for all future time, to the end of time, until the end of time, world without end, endlessly, timelessly, for eternity, in perpetuity, everlastingly, enduringly, never to return
      View synonyms
  • what the hell

    • 1informal It doesn't matter.

      ‘what the hell, business is business after all’
      • ‘He was a little baffled as to why anyone would want to, but I say what the hell.’
      • ‘I am the typical poor friend and relative who leaches off others, but what the hell, I go.’
      • ‘I had to go past it again the other day, so I thought, what the hell, give it a try.’
      • ‘It's more than we can really afford, but what the hell, we don't do this every day.’
      • ‘It was a stupid decision, but what the hell, it was made, and should have been implemented.’
      • ‘What the hell - if the stuff doesn't work, it'll make my flat look cool.’
      • ‘I had no desire to ever do something like that, but I said what the hell and took it.’
      • ‘I get the feeling I may encounter some resistance to this choice, but what the hell.’
      • ‘I can't think of much to celebrate on that front but what the hell, it's a damn decent bottle of red.’
      • ‘So I don't get much chance to eat, never mind see my family, but what the hell?’
      • ‘As I shut the door, I looked at the still full bowl of sweets and thought, what the hell.’
      • ‘I had to get out of bed to cook it but what the hell, Mrs Sticker was appreciative.’
      • ‘My life is really too shallow and boring for a blog but what the hell, nobody actually had to read it.’
      • ‘At this rate, the house will already be warm by the time it happens, but what the hell.’
      • ‘I'm sure more blogs will comment on this before long, but what the hell, I'm still going to.’
      • ‘You're already going to be home late, so what the hell, take it easy, give your weary eyes and brain a break.’
      • ‘That doesn't sound very wise and mature to me, but what the hell, you got to do what you got to do.’
      • ‘At first I didn't want to, didn't really see the point but then I thought what the hell.’
      • ‘He ran the race illegally, changed the rules to suit himself, but he came first so what the hell.’
    • 2informal Used to express anger, contempt, or disbelief.

      ‘What the hell, Jane? You're hanging me out to dry?’

Origin

Old English hel, hell, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hel and German Hölle, from an Indo-European root meaning to cover or hide.

Pronunciation:

hell

/hel/