Definition of infernal in English:


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  • 1Relating to or characteristic of hell or the underworld.

    ‘the infernal regions’
    • ‘the infernal heat of the forge’
    • ‘Mapping the infernal regions of Hell and Purgatory with a geographer's precision, Botticelli takes the viewer on a journey of visceral, blood-curdling horror.’
    • ‘Scary images flash on the screen as Gene begins his incantations to the infernal minions of hell.’
    • ‘Like the first film, the second is framed by opening titles describing the Buddhist conception of the most infernal level of hell, a timeless space in which one's identity and conscience no longer has any meaning.’
    • ‘He held the nation captive and forced us to confront that which we fear most: the infernal torments of Hell itself.’
    • ‘Now here is what is interesting, the worshippers of Mithras strongly believed in a celestial heaven and an infernal hell.’
    • ‘Cuming claimed that ‘the forthcoming end of the world would be hastened by the construction of underground railways burrowing into the infernal regions and thereby disturbing the devil’.’
    • ‘With blackness all around it, these burning colours made Loch Shiel look like some lake of the infernal regions, an otherworldly vision, intense and remarkably beautiful.’
    • ‘There were splashes of flash bulbs, and infernal heat, and the button eyes of Ethel Kennedy turned to cinders.’
    • ‘So when the pair decide to create their own hell in Manhattan, and Nicky is sent to recapture them, nobody back home in the infernal regions holds out much hope.’
    • ‘His conception of the infernal regions had been actively debated throughout the sixteenth century, two opposed views having been set forth by commentators on Dante's text.’
    • ‘It is the lurid intermixture of the two that produces the illuminating blaze of the infernal regions.’
    • ‘It is rather satisfying to imagine ‘neighbours from hell’ being confronted by an actual denizen of the infernal pits.’
    • ‘He then begins a campaign of terror to ensure that his beloved gets the best parts before spiriting her away to his subterranean lair to be his infernal bride.’
    • ‘Similarly, I've never found myself in a dark wood, about the middle point in my life, and been taken through the infernal, purgatorial, and celestial realms by various and sundry guides.’
    • ‘Staggering home under the appalled stares of passers-by, a bloodied Mehmet walks a gauntlet of seething furnaces, grinding pistons and an incessant, infernal hammering.’
    of hell, hellish, lower, nether, subterranean, underworld
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  • 2 informal attributive Irritating and tiresome (used for emphasis)

    • ‘you're an infernal nuisance’
    • ‘From a civilian's point of view, it was an infernal nuisance.’
    • ‘It is all an infernal nuisance… it seems to me the time has arrived to set about being a man of letters.’
    • ‘No prizes for guessing what has caused this temporary regression into childhood… this damned infernal blog!’
    • ‘So as I begin to lose all confidence that this blasted infernal film will ever be made, I decide I need help.’
    • ‘I gave my wardrobe one final shove so that it was against the wall under the stairs that led into the room, darkly insulting whoever made the infernal contraption so heavy.’
    • ‘It's most annoying that you claim to be a friend of his, because I'd like to toast you for your infernal effrontery in bringing that damned amulet here.’
    • ‘Whenever I even say hello they go all red like damn raspberries and start their infernal giggling.’
    • ‘An oven cooks glass at an infernal heat, and once every second, spits a 420 gram drop of melted glass onto a mold.’
    • ‘Jerry wonders how it is that he was in this nice, bright-eyed girl-across-the-hallway's apartment this afternoon and why now, at this infernal moment, he's here, writing.’
    damned, damn, damnable, wretched, accursed, rotten, horrible
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/inˈfərn(ə)l/ /ɪnˈfərn(ə)l/


Late Middle English from Old French, from Christian Latin infernalis, from Latin infernus ‘below, underground’, used by Christians to mean ‘hell’, on the pattern of inferni (masculine plural) ‘the shades’ and inferna (neuter plural) ‘the lower regions’.