Definition of hellish in US English:



  • 1Of or like hell.

    ‘an unearthly, hellish landscape’
    • ‘Several blinding nuclear blasts ensued, covering the rock with dust and flame in a hellish inferno.’
    • ‘The grim reality of this hellish landscape pervaded every aspect of work and leisure.’
    • ‘They emerged on stage bathed in a hellish red glow and launched into a set astonishing in its ferociousness and intensity.’
    • ‘Either way it's a sublime cover: yellow gothic lettering above a motorcade that looks like it's emerging through the luminescent smoke from some hellish underworld.’
    • ‘I wouldn't want her mangy little dog to suffer an inferno of hellish fury.’
    • ‘They marched all day, passing through a hellish, wrecked landscape.’
    • ‘Overhead, a blinding red pulse burned bright before hurtling into the wall and bringing down rocks and fire in a hellish burst of light and sound and crushing pressure.’
    • ‘In time, the hellish landscape of the high South lost its fearful interest for Adriana and became monotonous, a distance to be covered with a minimum of pain.’
    • ‘This promises to be a hard-hitting play from a news correspondent filing reports from a hellish war zone.’
    • ‘Then the Devil suddenly turned and looked straight in our direction and pointed right at us and started laughing a ghastly hellish devil laugh.’
    • ‘A fireworks explosion set off a huge blaze in central Lima late on Saturday, killing at least 240 people and turning a busy shopping street into a hellish scene.’
    • ‘It seemed to stretch on for miles, going slightly uphill into a long corner then heading up, and away to whatever hellish dimension existed as the faeries' foul home.’
    • ‘He describes their hellish home of hidden evil upon evil, windy wolf-dens, cliffs, and skies of dark air and black rain.’
    • ‘A hellish landscape of fire, smoke and death formed a backdrop for a bunch of kids a long way from home who were just doing their job.’
    • ‘The firelight flickered over the daemon's armor, giving him an extremely hellish quality.’
    • ‘But the tattoo drew her focus to the middle of the design and there the two devilish eyes stared down upon her with hellish fire.’
    • ‘I walked over a barbed-wire covered hill, through a deserted trench, and saw the hellish landscape.’
    • ‘And just what are we looking for in this hellish landscape?’
    • ‘The air he inhaled transformed into a hellish inferno, scorching his lungs.’
    • ‘War is hell, but can be made more or less hellish.’
    infernal, hadean
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    1. 1.1informal Extremely difficult or unpleasant.
      ‘it had been a hellish week’
      • ‘Nearby rock vaporized instantly with explosive force, creating a hellish chamber of radiation and overwhelming pressure several hundred yards in diameter.’
      • ‘We know that there are many beings in the world today living in hellish states and suffering terribly every moment of their lives.’
      • ‘In a way that makes this job even harder than some of the hellish jobs I've had in the past.’
      • ‘The answer came as the wickedly bitter temperatures turned the freezing rain into a hellish mix of snow and hail.’
      • ‘It arrived in the mail a few weeks later, and I opened it up only to receive a hellish, ghastly, devastating shock.’
      • ‘Under cover of darkness our hero figuratively sneaks onto the White House lawn and retrieves those long lost medals, earned over that hellish 4-month span.’
      • ‘Shocking, infernal, hellish, unendingly nasty - it's all sounding more and more like my last vacation in Paris.’
      • ‘The description of his journey includes sequences in Swindon's town centre, around the station and in the station itself, which is transformed in Christopher's mind into a place of hellish noise and confusion.’
      • ‘Come to think of it, there could hardly be a better theme for Rome than heaven and hell - it's a city of heavenly buildings, art and ancient ruins, but it suffers from hellish traffic and endless crowds.’
      • ‘She was lost in a horrible, hellish world, and the only person she could trust right now was Zach.’
      • ‘It is difficult to see how you can imagine anything more hellish than the idea that the world is already a cruel, dystopic nightmare.’
      • ‘Events of the past fortnight suggest escaping our hellish past might prove harder than the optimists imagined.’
      • ‘The wind increased blow harder and harder in a hellish gale that never seemed to cease.’
      • ‘Isolation is an evil feeling, and I've had some hellish weekends lately.’
      • ‘But, in the immediate aftermath of this hellish disaster, I don't know how long the American reporters are going to stay or how long the Arab reporters are going to stay.’
      • ‘The weather's dismal and the light grey and the landscape reminds you of everything that's hellish about the country.’
      • ‘The Dutch have never forgotten how desperately they fought during eight hellish days, and the veterans can never forget the kindness and generosity of the people who shared what little food they had, and tended their wounds.’
      • ‘If you've ever seen a more terrifying beard than this, then you are most certainly a liar, because there is no beard more frightening than this hellish monstrosity.’
      • ‘The public likes to bemoan a difficult and wildly diva, hellish in rehearsal, magnanimous on stage, humble in the face of her art.’
      • ‘I know these people are hellish to deal with, but have you stressed to them that letting their dog run free is against the law rather than just being a nuisance to you?’
      horrible, rotten, awful, terrible, dreadful, ghastly, horrid, vile, foul, abominable, appalling, atrocious, horrendous, frightful
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  • as submodifier Extremely (used for emphasis)

    ‘it was hellish expensive’
    • ‘The horse is a hefty great beast at 17.1 hands and hellish strong.’
    • ‘And as they will attest, once information is out there it's hellish tricky to take it back.’
    • ‘A good short story is hellish hard to write, so you can agonize over them, but most of the time I'm done with the first draft in a week.’
    • ‘It's always been done this way, it would be hellish complicated to make a change and, besides, the only people who can make the decision have a vested interest in the status quo.’
    very, extremely, exceedingly, exceptionally, extraordinarily, tremendously, immensely, hugely, intensely, acutely, uncommonly, unusually, decidedly, particularly, remarkably, really, truly, mightily, thoroughly
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