Meaning of hell in English:


Pronunciation /hɛl/

See synonyms for hell

Translate hell into Spanish


  • 1

    (also Hell)
    A 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.

    ‘irreligious children were assumed to have passed straight to the eternal fires of hell’
    • ‘In that explanation, the hell realm was in the depths of the earth.’
    • ‘We must always remember that the purifying fires of heaven are hotter than the fires of hell.’
    • ‘Do you want reliable answers concerning issues like life, forgiveness, death, heaven or hell?’
    • ‘The hell of this world is all the hell I will endure and it is all the heaven unbelievers will ever enjoy.’
    • ‘I believe I am making my own hell or heaven now and that my after life will be what I deserve.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But I'm committed to the teaching of the scriptures that there is a heaven and a hell.’
    • ‘If this is true, then the burning fires of hell would be the coziest place imaginable.’
    • ‘Heaven and hell are eternal states with no movement of people from one to the other.’
    • ‘So God's holiness makes hell as inevitable as his love makes heaven.’
    • ‘They conceived the idea that God dwells within each person and that heaven and hell exist here and now on earth.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It teaches that there is no eternal hell or damnation and every soul has the capacity to realize the Truth.’
    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 situation, experience, or place of great suffering.
      ‘I've been through hell’
      • ‘he made her life hell’
      • ‘A callous dog owner has escaped going to jail after making his pet's life a living hell of prolonged torment.’
      • ‘It truly has been the closest thing to a living hell that I've ever experienced.’
      • ‘The stories from those inside haunts anyone who hears them, and this is perhaps the closest thing to a living hell.’
      • ‘The mold, the weather, and my sinuses are conspiring to make my life a living hell.’
      • ‘For my husband and thousands like him, life really is a living hell.’
      • ‘It's marvellous for two days, then you feel like you're in a living hell.’
      • ‘Why do you continue to make my life a living hell now you are dead?’
      • ‘It attracts the drug trade and expands it and simply makes life a living hell.’
      • ‘He spent six weeks in a living hell all because of his thoughtlessness!’
      • ‘Jail is in many ways worse anyway, with life inside being a living hell.’
      • ‘It's been going on for three years - it's a living hell and we've decided enough is enough.’
      • ‘They are suffering terribly but their mind is perfect, so it is a living hell.’
      • ‘After the death, staff at the home became intolerably cruel to her and made her life a living hell.’
      • ‘If you know what local television is like in the Philippines you know what a living hell it was.’
      • ‘The people around him had no idea that it was really a living hell for him.’
      • ‘You can say that your life has been a living hell for the last few months.’
      • ‘You vow you're going to make his/her life a living hell as long as you are alive.’
      • ‘I may as well live in a fiery inferno, for God's sake, because my life has become a living hell!’
      • ‘Before long, an unspeakable hell of gunfire, death and destruction surround you.’
      • ‘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.’
      a misery, purgatory, hell on earth, torture, agony, a torment, a nightmare, an ordeal, a trauma
      View synonyms


also the hell
  • Used for emphasis or to express anger, contempt, or surprise.

    ‘oh, hell—where will this all end?’
    • ‘who the hell are you?’
    • ‘We don't even mind that you came up with the next new year first; hell, we're used to it.’
    • ‘I suppose it hurt because, hell, no girl likes having another girl picked over her.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I don't see any dishonour in this at all; hell, isn't it how Parliament is supposed to work?’
    • ‘You can't afford a gun safety class; hell, you can barely afford the gun.’
    • ‘It also says to people smuggling drugs - hell, if you're caught, you might as well shoot it out.’
    • ‘He responded that he certainly had an opinion about the movie - hell, he made it, in fact.’
    • ‘I guess it was going to happen sooner or later - hell, I predicted it about a month ago.’
    • ‘I checked the ticket in the machine and the parking was free of charge - hell, what a bonus.’
    • ‘We will not come out with a firm argument this week - hell, we might not even print this issue.’
    • ‘I tried to work out if they were pitying or despising me but, hell, it made no difference.’
    • ‘I went to this cheap salon in Madison, the girl put some fluid on my head and, hell, my hair went green and hard.’
    • ‘I like games and I know they can be addictive but, hell, killing over one is just plain stupid.’
    • ‘Plus we love our food and, hell, we were stuck with each other for fatter or thinner.’
    • ‘Don't give it a second thought; hell, most other magazine editors don't.’
    • ‘Without the blues, there is no Elvis or Chuck Berry, no Rolling Stones and, hell, no Justin Timberlake.’
    • ‘Green was the color of their clothes and equipment and, hell, the name stuck.’
    • ‘She was sure the neighbours could hear them as well - hell, the whole terrace could probably hear them.’
    damn, damnation, blast, hell, heck, Gordon Bennett
    View synonyms


    a hell of a —
    • Used to emphasize something very bad or great.

      • ‘the car cost a hell of a lot of money’
      • ‘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 doesn't seem like it now, but it was a hell of a lot of money back then.’
      • ‘It takes a hell of a lot of money to put on this masquerade in front of the public.’
      • ‘Aren't we, by sending one or two artists to Venice, just spending a hell of a lot of money on a good party?’
      • ‘With these aircraft coming to the end of their lives, the cost of replacing them is a hell of a lot of money.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And I have to admit that there is one hell of a lot of good source material I could be using.’
      • ‘I am confident one hell of a lot will happen on the Waterfront over the next five years.’
      • ‘I have been to a hell of a lot of South American and Central American countries.’
      • ‘The press had written me off, I've been through a hell of a lot but I came through.’
      • ‘Assuming we get any takers at all in this mad scheme, it should be a hell of a lot of fun.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They have asked Santa for bikes because they have a hell of a lot of cycling to do.’
      • ‘For that, cafe owners gained by selling me a hell of a lot of coffee while I surfed the web.’
      • ‘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.’
    all hell breaks loose
    • Suddenly there is pandemonium.

      • ‘the power cut out and all hell broke loose’
      • ‘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 and a couple of compartments were set on fire.’
      • ‘Suddenly all hell broke loose as one of the suspects struggled free, grabbed a knife and attacked an unarmed officer.’
      • ‘But as soon as I say I'm only interested in Asians, suddenly all hell breaks loose!’
      • ‘A raucous screech flooded her head and suddenly all hell broke loose.’
      • ‘Suddenly, all hell broke loose; there was gunfire and explosions everywhere.’
      • ‘‘All of a sudden, all hell broke loose,’ he told magistrates.’
      • ‘And then all hell broke loose on the night of March 10 that year.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They give him a learning support assistant but as soon as things start to improve they withdraw it and all hell is let loose.’
      • ‘It always starts with an investigative article in either The Washington Post or The New York Times, and all hell is let 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.’
      • ‘But that's what he got - and all hell broke loose.’
      • ‘‘We were there until 11 pm and then all hell broke loose,’ said the prison officer.’
      • ‘Over the next few weeks, all hell broke loose on campus.’
      • ‘When the final whistle blew all hell broke loose.’
      • ‘And then all hell broke loose when he walked out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘All hell would have broken loose if a fraction of these acts had been performed by the other side.’
    as — as hell
    • Possessing the specified quality to a high degree (used for emphasis)

      • ‘he's as guilty as hell’
      • ‘I'm still out here, running free and as guilty as hell.’
      • ‘He looks as guilty as hell and I realise we would be denying cruel destiny if I did not now make it my business to find out what he thinks he is guilty of.’
      • ‘And with that he left the room, leaving Craig feeling as guilty as hell for something he doesn't remember doing.’
      • ‘Either he was drunk as hell or just as stupid as hell… well… he was probably both.’
      • ‘We were stubborn as hell but we were hanging on by our fingernails.’
      • ‘If I were a prospective sponsor and looked at their site, I'd sure as hell change my mind.’
      • ‘It's not great art or anything, but their drummer sure as hell earns the money.’
      • ‘I thought it was funny as hell, and kept laughing throughout the day every time I thought of it.’
      • ‘He sure as hell hates losing and doesn't just want win, he wants to rub it in.’
      • ‘If that's being politically correct than we sure as hell know what side of the argument we're on.’
      • ‘However, she's also mad as hell and really isn't going to take it anymore.’
      • ‘Tallis, professor of geriatric medicine at Manchester, is mad as hell and he's not going to take any more.’
      • ‘We sure as hell ought to be able to do it the second time in less time than the first, if nothing else.’
      • ‘But it's sure as hell got to be the best way, the only way, to mainline pure adrenaline in the cinema.’
      • ‘There are magazines on the coffee table in front of me, and I'm feeling nervous as hell.’
      • ‘She could be fine as hell, but if you have conflicting issues all the time, it's not gonna work.’
      • ‘Are they now going to pay my direct debits which are due this week because I sure as hell can't without my tax credits?’
      • ‘Tom Chaplin and the boys are back and this time they are mad as hell.’
      • ‘I sure as hell wouldn't want to be treated as second fiddle, so why do some of us treat others that way?’
      • ‘I woke up this morning somewhat before my alarm went off, feeling nauseous as hell.’
    be hell on
    • Be very unpleasant or harmful to.

      • ‘summer can be hell on your skin’
      • ‘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 through old blog stuff is hell on the brain.’
      • ‘Going back to Standard Time is hell on us nightowls.’
      • ‘Health foods need not be hell on your tastebuds.’
      • ‘But the after effects were hell on her mind and body.’
      • ‘This was hell on horse's hooves, considering the hot pavement they had to walk on for much of the way.’
      • ‘The impact was hell on his new bullet wounds and he found that he was bleeding quite profusely.’
      • ‘Have I ever mentioned this knight-in-shining-armor thing is hell on the muscles?’
      • ‘War is hell on a president and his approval ratings.’
      • ‘Only problem is, driving around with 2,000 pounds of papers in my back seat is hell on my car.’
      • ‘Then we told him that almost flying into mountains is hell on the nervous system, not fun.’
      • ‘Hey, from the looks of it, it's been hell on you, too.’
      • ‘Staying at all those run-down places has been hell on my back.’
      • ‘I cringed, this all must have been hell on his burnt hand.’
      • ‘It would be hell on business, though, so we skip it.’
    be hell on wheels
    • Cause great difficulty or trouble.

      • ‘the new boss was hell on wheels’
      • ‘the northbound slow lane is hell on wheels’
    come hell or high water
    • Whatever difficulties may occur.

      ‘he confirmed that, come hell or high water, he will make his first trip to Scotland in November’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 wanted more, I wanted a baby 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.’
      • ‘Reporters cultivate an image of dogged truth-seekers who kick up rocks and report what they find 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?’
      • ‘But it looks like that won't happen, so, come hell or high water, I am getting a job at Starbucks.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Either way the Dominican College is determined to maintain the rugby ethos, 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.’
      • ‘I hate confrontations with a passion but I wasn't going to back down, come hell or high water.’
      • ‘A quarter of a century earlier a young man and woman promised to wed each other, 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.’
      • ‘They were there to hear some great blues, and come hell or high water, they were going to hear it.’
      • ‘By now I was determined I was going to preach that sermon come hell or high water.’
      • ‘I am a sceptic and believe this government is committed to membership come hell or high water.’
    for the hell of it
    • Just for fun.

      • ‘she walked on window ledges for the hell of it’
      • ‘Request a matching waistcoat 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!’
      • ‘Just for the hell of it, I went back and tried 4 tickets, which also worked.’
      • ‘Now, I don't disrespect McDonalds for the hell of it - they're a successful machine that works very well.’
      • ‘Maybe I'll drive around the block a few times 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.’
      • ‘We'd watch cars and people going by just for the hell of it.’
      • ‘I've known academics who speak Latin for the hell of it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I've used Pythagoras' Theorem about twice - 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.’
      • ‘What I haven't tried at least once for the hell of it, I think I could figure out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I decided to give myself a one-second burst 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.’
      • ‘They bring you down, only to bring you back up again, just for the hell of it.’
      • ‘It's not just photographing your life for 24 hours for the hell of it or the pure vanity.’
      • ‘Or do we have a lot more criminals interfering with other people's property just for the hell of it?’
      • ‘In tinder-dry conditions, the fire service could do without reckless idiots setting fires just for the hell of it.’
    get hell
    • Be severely reprimanded.

      • ‘Paul kept his mouth shut and looked apologetic—we got hell’
      • ‘I'm going to catch hell if she reads this’
      • ‘Of course, nothing is sweeter to a kid than imagining their parent getting hell from some other bigger older parent.’
      • ‘I get hell when I get home: ‘These stains will NEVER come out.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 had probably spent four hours getting hell from her for what she had read in my journals.’
      • ‘If I hear any fighting you're going to get hell, okay mister?’
      • ‘‘In the forest…’ Christopher trailed off, knowing he was going to get hell for a response like that.’
      • ‘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).’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Randy still wasn't comfortable telling anyone Calvin's name; for fear that Calvin could get hell from the police.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They are going to get hell when the social worker visits next month from the police.’
    get the hell out of
    • Withdraw quickly from (a place)

      • ‘let's all get the hell out of here’
    give someone hell
    • Severely reprimand or make things very unpleasant for someone.

      • ‘I gave him hell’
      • ‘I'm looking forward to going over there and giving them hell.’
      • ‘All I do is to tell them the truth, and that hurts a lot worse than giving them hell.’
      • ‘He has got to have oxygen because his lungs are giving him hell.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Indeed, he usually proceeded with the air of a man on his way to give somebody hell.’
      • ‘I took the plunge to be different even if others give me hell for it.’
      • ‘After laying down like a dead thing all day she found enough fight to give me hell.’
      • ‘All I can say is that if it happened here, the court would really give him hell for wasting its time.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Driving him home, I gave him hell, in my tired, hungover way.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He's been giving me hell ever since they got engaged.’
      • ‘I can hear that screechy voice of hers giving me hell - but she took care of me.’
      • ‘Because Vera refused to do her work, Bridget has been giving her hell.’
      • ‘I keep screwing up the spelling on people's names, and my editor gives me hell for it.’
    go to hell
    • Used to express angry rejection of someone or something.

      • ‘you can go to hell’
      • ‘He told the judge to go to hell, declared he won't be coming back and complained once again about life as a detainee.’
      • ‘My feelings can go to hell; I'm assured that the rest of me is going there anyway.’
      • ‘Whosoever is offended by its statements must pack and go to hell!’
      • ‘So as far as I am concerned your unhappily married personage can go to hell.’
      • ‘Yesterday, he threatened to boycott today's proceedings and told the judge to 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.’
      • ‘Sometimes I get mail from extremist religious people who think I should 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.’
      • ‘As long as he can show his personal badge of aerobic involvement, the environment, we may presume, 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He told them to go to hell since he could afford a funeral and consolation banquet for his brother at a much lower sum.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She has the unbelievably rare quality of being able to tell you how go to hell when needed.’
      • ‘I know I was being slightly irrational, but at this point logic could go to hell as far as I was concerned.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 hell and back
    • Endure an extremely unpleasant or difficult experience.

      ‘he's been to hell and back since he was publicly blamed for Saturday's home defeat’
      • ‘my parents went through hell and back’
      • ‘You went to hell and back out there… I have no idea what your strategy was.’
      • ‘I went to hell and back, but I wouldn't have it any other way.’
      • ‘‘I was so young, and I felt like I'd just gone to hell and back,’ he said.’
      • ‘She has gone to hell and back but mum has always been there for us.’
      • ‘You'd think the fact that they have gone to hell and back might be a helpful foundation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He would go to hell and back, and that is what he does.’
      • ‘‘Every mother is prepared to go to hell and back for their children,’ says Carol.’
      • ‘‘I went through hell and back and then back again,’ says the 31-year-old San Diego human resources executive.’
      • ‘Lance you have to clean your room, or at least help us, it looks like it went through hell and back, more then once.’
      • ‘We went through hell and back during our training days.’
      • ‘‘I know, darling, I know,’ she said, ‘But your sister has gone to hell and back with this whole thing since then!’’
      • ‘Hey, you look like you've gone to hell and back.’
      • ‘‘I need to talk to you, Angel,’ he stated like a man who seemed to have gone to hell and back.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He heard someone walking towards him, some boy who looked like he had just gone through hell and back.’
      • ‘He had gone through hell and back to save her after trying so hard to conceal the truth.’
      • ‘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.’
    hell for leather
    • As fast as possible.

      ‘I tore hell for leather out of my garage’
      • ‘People are going to be up there going 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.’
      • ‘But we are going hell for leather to govern by ourselves.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It looks like the allies are going hell for leather to get it over with.’
      • ‘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 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 went for it hell for leather on the restart.’
      • ‘Shoe shop manager Mark Haynes is a secret tough man, who likes nothing better than running hell for leather in the roughest of conditions.’
      • ‘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 unless you're going hell for leather at your keyboard, don't put them at the end of every sentence you type!’
      • ‘The last movement, so easily a tiresome adjunct, was played hell for leather.’
      • ‘Careering towards her are four two-year-olds, pedalling hell for leather on miniature cars.’
      • ‘The muscles really get a good work out without going all hell for leather either.’
      • ‘He was going hell for leather and the noises he was making were truly spectacular.’
      • ‘Outside rugby I'm a fairly placid guy but once I'm on the pitch I go hell for leather.’
      • ‘The wind machine goes hell for leather as the clouds in the moonlit sky float serenely.’
    hell hath no fury like a woman scorned
    • A woman who has been rejected by a man can be ferociously angry and vindictive.

      ‘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.’’
      • ‘They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and, as Susan Flockhart discovered, cyberspace has become the preferred instrument of revenge’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    hell's bells
    • An exclamation of annoyance or anger.

      • ‘Hell's bells, Don, you're being unreasonable!’
      • ‘But hell's bells, look at it again!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    hell's half acre
    North American
    • A great distance.

    hell, west, and crooked
    Australian, North American informal
    • All over the place.

      • ‘she's running hell, west, and crooked’
      • ‘At the end of the day, the "miracle economy" and the "productivity gains" which are touted hell, west and crooked, are overstated.’
      • ‘Hell, West and crooked is how a local woman describes the desert that surrounds The Hill.’
      • ‘They soon spread over the country, running hell, west and crooked, shaking off their packs and mixing things up generally.’
      • ‘They were right in the thick of it, with shells landing hell, west and crooked, all round them.’
      • ‘Usually very reserved, her husband was crashing around the living-room, sending magazines and knitting hell, west and crooked.’
    in hell
    • Used for emphasis.

      • ‘what in hell have you got there?’
    like hell
    • 1Very much (used for emphasis)

      • ‘my head hurts 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.’
      • ‘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, it hurts like hell on my right side when I breathe in.’
      • ‘It really is a magnificent bruise and I have no doubt it hurts like hell.’
      • ‘Either way, you pay in full, and yes, it invariably hurts like hell.’
      • ‘My legs hurt like hell though - was it the dog, or the cycling?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I can't blame them if they do decide to leave, but I can't say I won't resent it like hell.’
      • ‘‘But we all come to work like hell for a few years and then take our money home to Poland,’ he said.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I grabbed a spade and frantically dug a hole in the garden, hoping like hell my flatmate wouldn't turn up during the process.’
      • ‘The story wouldn't be about winners, and winning, it would be about losers fighting like hell to avoid another loss.’
      • ‘I mean, we've had moments in which we've sweated like hell, but the end result has been astonishingly good.’
      • ‘You kick 'em in the spine when they're not looking and run like hell.’
      • ‘One witness described Jackson as ‘fighting like hell with the steering wheel’ as he drove along at speed.’
      • ‘He'd been granted a purpose and was trying like hell to set a good example.’
      • ‘He runs like hell, shelters between a television news van and a car, and covers his nose and mouth with his T-shirt.’
      • ‘Two bites on my arm have come up and they itch like hell.’
      • ‘Believe me there will be a time when you miss it like hell!’
    • 2Used in ironic expressions of scorn or disagreement.

      • ‘like hell I'm telling a stranger my address and phone number’
      • ‘Like hell he was going to let her win this easily, he thought angrily.’
      • ‘Yeah, like hell it is.’
      • ‘"Like hell you are," I tell him.’
    play hell
    • 1British informal Create havoc.

      • ‘the kids play merry hell until she tells them to go to bed at once’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Also, there was one weapon the enemy surprised us with in this campaign, and they played hell with us.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The news played hell with the parents of the children, who were on the verge on going hysterical.’
      • ‘This played hell with us in the classroom the next day as we would lose lots of sleep.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Constant honking was heard throughout the day playing hell with a peaceful residential locality.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He wanted her gone because she was playing hell with his senses.’
      • ‘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…’
      • ‘Eventually I have always lost money, because these places sell drinks and that plays hell on my concentration.’
      • ‘You'll do anything to be near them, accepting pot after pot of coffee, even though it'll play hell with your plumbing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This fun series plays merry hell with biographical facts.’
      • ‘But I would have played hell if it hadn't been offered.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘My informant excused himself shortly afterwards, on the grounds that his associate would play merry hell if he was late for lunch.’
      1. 1.1Cause damage.
        ‘the rough road played hell with the tyres’
        • ‘Of course, sand does play hell on your kit, but I don't really think that's the point the LA Times was trying to get across.’
        • ‘It plays hell with your social life.’
        • ‘Sometimes I think these people would be annoyed if Jesus did return, because it would play hell with their fundraising.’
        • ‘It plays hell with contact lenses and the officers' laptop computers, and clogs up weapons, which have to be cleaned daily.’
    the road to hell is paved with good intentions
    • Promises and plans must be put into action, otherwise they are useless.

      ‘Unfortunately, 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, of course, the road to hell is paved with good intentions…’
      • ‘However, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’
      • ‘You know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and all…’
      • ‘But the road to hell is paved with good intentions that have already created far too much anguish and hatred.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But, as soon becomes clear, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’
      • ‘And so he discovers the road to hell is paved with good intentions and commonplace aspirations.’
      • ‘More in sorrow than in anger, Shawcross discovers anew that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’
      • ‘They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’
      • ‘It is said 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.’
      • ‘They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’
    there will be hell to pay
    • Serious trouble will occur as a result of a previous or proposed action.

      • ‘when I got it wrong, there would be hell to pay’
      • ‘But when they cross the wrong guy, 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.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘I'm sure there will be hell to pay at some point this week.’
      • ‘But if they move us again, 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In time he'll probably succeed in taking most of the party with him, but 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.’
      • ‘‘You'd better calm down,’ William said harshly, ‘Because if she wakes up, 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.’
      • ‘If we don't say goodbye to her, there will be hell to pay.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘And if you start fighting over the blankets 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!’
      • ‘And this house better be spotless when we get back, or there will be hell to pay!’
      • ‘But he had better keep his promise or 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.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘She hoped to hell that Thomas would ask her if she would help him.’
      • ‘I have never seen him like that before, and I hope to hell that I never have to again.’
      • ‘She just had to keep talking to him, and hope to hell that the ambulance would get here soon.’
      • ‘I coughed and quickly adjusted my voice, hoping to hell he hadn't noticed the crack.’
      • ‘She hoped to hell it wasn't to make Jess want to see him, because it wasn't going to work.’
      • ‘Here in Aussie we just get on with partying 24 hours a day and to hell with the consequences.’
    to hell with
    • Expressing one's scorn or lack of concern for (someone or something).

      • ‘To hell with quality, to hell with life, to hell with savoring the moment.’
      • ‘We should have stuck to our guns, people tell me, and to hell with Liverpool and to hell with the Tory leadership.’
      • ‘These characters have a tendency to pass moral judgments based on their beliefs, and to hell with what anyone else thinks.’
      • ‘It's really too dark for my pale skin, but sometimes you wake up in the morning and think: to hell with that.’
      • ‘Finally, I said to hell with that, and I pulled my car across the road completely blocking traffic.’
      • ‘Okay, this may be a slightly biased vantage point, but to hell with that.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Seek out like-minded people and to hell with what unfriendly breeders might think.’
      • ‘It is more like a total lack of inhibition, and to hell with any consequences.’
      • ‘Oh, to hell with it, I'm entitled to complain if I want to.’
      • ‘But when they started attacking the Chinese, I thought, to hell with them.’
      • ‘The individual as the supreme representation of Australian society and to hell with our traditional egalitarianism.’
      • ‘So, long-time readers may remember something of this story, but to hell with you, I'm writing it anyway.’
      • ‘Now that is a case of saying, ‘if you want what I am offering then vote for me or to hell with you.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At that point the cops either got their orders or decided to hell with it; they were streaming past us on all sides.’
      • ‘I find knitting and quilting very meditative and say to hell with anyone who says derogatory things about it/me.’
    until hell freezes over
    • Until some time in the impossibly distant future; forever.

      ‘they'll have to wait until hell freezes over’
      • ‘‘I am prepared to wait for my answer until hell freezes over,’ Stevenson says.’
      • ‘At this time any informed Canberra observer knows that we will be waiting until hell freezes over.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He says he'll be honored to welcome the President but won't change his mind 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.’
      • ‘One man proclaimed, ‘We'll fight them, sir, till hell freezes over, and then, sir, we will fight them on the ice.’’
    what the hell
    • 1 informal It doesn't matter.

      • ‘you're already going to be home late, so 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.’
      • ‘My life is really too shallow and boring for a blog but what the hell, nobody actually had to read it.’
      • ‘I can't think of much to celebrate on that front but what the hell, it's a damn decent bottle of red.’
      • ‘At this rate, the house will already be warm by the time it happens, but 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.’
      • ‘He was a little baffled as to why anyone would want to, but I say what the hell.’
      • ‘It was a stupid decision, but what the hell, it was made, and should have been implemented.’
      • ‘He ran the race illegally, changed the rules to suit himself, but he came first so 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.’
      • ‘I had no desire to ever do something like that, but I said what the hell and took it.’
      • ‘So I don't get much chance to eat, never mind see my family, but what the hell?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I get the feeling I may encounter some resistance to this choice, but what the hell.’
      • ‘What the hell - if the stuff doesn't work, it'll make my flat look cool.’
    • 2Used to express anger, contempt, or disbelief.

      • ‘What the hell, Jane? You're hanging me out to dry?’
    — from hell
    • An extremely unpleasant or troublesome example of something.

      • ‘neighbours from hell’
      • ‘The torment imposed by neighbours from hell can go on for years.’
      • ‘You could be caught on camera when a mobile CCTV unit takes to Southend's streets to snoop on neighbours from hell.’
      • ‘An innovative help group for residents whose lives are blighted by neighbours from hell will be piloted in two York areas.’
      • ‘Some people go on holiday to get away from the neighbours 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.’
      • ‘I felt as if I got smashed last night and was now experiencing the hangover from hell.’
      • ‘My next door neighbours have turned into the customers from hell.’
      • ‘If you are a normal, hard working, sensible teacher, this is your week 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.’
      • ‘I have the headache from hell, my throat is killing me, and my sinuses hurt.’
      • ‘Lucas also finished his job from hell on Friday so we went out for a long big breakfast on Saturday morning to celebrate.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In this service station from hell, there was one diesel pump open.’
      • ‘Residents living in a Penhill street are celebrating the end of a family from hell's reign of abuse and intimidation.’
      • ‘The other guests must have thought it was their holiday from hell.’
      • ‘We're in the middle of what they said would be Tony's week 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.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, they forgot to include surviving the honeymoon from hell in their vows.’
    — the hell out of
    • Used in verbal phrases to emphasize force, speed, etc.

      • ‘these people scare the hell out of me’
      • ‘If you want a car that scares the hell out of little old men and woman this is it.’
      • ‘Jim can change from sensitive man to monster at the flick of a subconscious switch, and it scares the hell out of Mike.’
      • ‘As a tourist, quite often getting a ride on a scooter, or moto, was the only way to get around and they scared the hell out of me.’
      • ‘The potential was there to truly scare the hell out of the audience and at the same time deliver some good drama.’
      • ‘I kind of live by the edict that I like to scare the hell out of myself sometimes.’
      • ‘And it's starting to scare the hell out of me, because each one undermines the hope in the other.’
      • ‘But for those who want nothing else I would say yeah, the movie is liable to scare the hell out of you.’
      • ‘I can honestly say, right now, the Internet is boring the hell out of me in a bigger way than at any other point in my eight years online.’
      • ‘But he has irritated the hell out of people for years, so why has he lasted?’
      • ‘It frustrates the hell out of me because everybody knows how proud a man I am and how much I think about this football club.’
      • ‘There's no point to them, they're filthy and they annoy the hell out of every other living creature on the planet.’
      • ‘I turned round to see one of these youths knocking the hell out of another bespectacled youth, not one of their party.’
      • ‘They could pick the hell out of it and find more mistakes than that.’
      • ‘Heavier trains, you see, tend to bash the hell out of the infrastructure.’
      • ‘Suddenly you feel yourself resenting the hell out of the department store, the one with the famous name on the door.’
      • ‘It annoys the hell out of me when other people do it, so this entry is probably annoying the hell out of someone else right now.’
      • ‘Ever wondered why your pet puss scratches the hell out of your favourite chair?’
      • ‘There are plenty of people happy to earn a living kicking the hell out of the white working-class male.’
      • ‘Anyway, in an obvious attempt to confuse the hell out of me, the postman woke me up today by hammering on the door.’
      • ‘They'll only succeed in annoying the hell out of us, and annoyed smokers calm down by lighting up.’


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